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XI B R.AR.Y 1 







- - V 













To the few surviving companions and friends of the 
times and scenes of which I have written, and who shared 
with me the trials and triumphs of those long past pioneer 
years, this book is respectfully dedicated. 

HARVEY L. Ross. 

I 135156 


The author of this book being now a citizen of the City 
of Oakland, State of California, and in the eighty-first 
year of his age, having been an early pioneer of the State 
of Illinois, having settled there with his parents in tlit; 
year 1820, and having lived to witness the rise and progress 
and the development of that great State from its infancy, 
and having been familiar with many circumstances and 
events connected with the early history of that State, and 
having been well acquainted with Abraham Lincoln and 
Peter Cartwright from theirfirst coming into the State up to 
the time of their respective deaths, and having also had the 
privilege and the opportunity of learning much about the 
early life and adventures of Andrew Jackson, was solicited 
by friends who had been informed of these facts to write 
for publication- what he knew concerning pioneer times and 
those illustrious men. 

In compliance to such requests he wrote a number of 
articles which were published in the Fulton Democrat at 
Lewistown, Fulton County, Illinois, and which were copied 
into other newspapers, and since such publication he has 
been further solicited by many persons to have those ar- 
ticles compiled and published in book form, and they now 
here appear substantially as they were copied from those 

, CALIFORNIA, 1898. 

. A few months ago, while on a business trip to 
San Francisco, California, I visited my uncle at his home 


near by Oakland, arid was there shown many of the com- 
munications here appearing. The writer of this memo- 
randum note was deeply impressed with the future value 
of these writings as representing an accurate and faithful 
narration of events of the early days of the now great State 
of Illinois,, and as being replete with interesting remem- 
brances and unrecorded sayings and doings of three now 
historical characters. 

I urged upon my uncle the privilege and duty even that 
rested with and upon him, to put his newspaper and fugi- 
tive writings into final form for book publication, so that 
they could pass into the permanent literature of the State 
and not perish. It Avas easily seen that the terse and oft- 
times quaint statements of facts and events had a peculiar 
attractiveness of expression of their own, and the honesty 
and candor that permeate every line of his writings doubly 
assure a recognition of value. 

I found my uncle, although past the four-score years of 
the psalmist, hale in body, bright and cheerful, and in as 
full possession of his mental strength and vigor as in the 
noontime of his life. Indeed, you could say of him as Sir 
Walter Scott has so beautifully spoken of one of his char- 
acters of fiction, " that the snows of Winter have fallen 
upon, but chilled him not." I found to my gratification 
that my uncle had also thought of preserving his writings 
in book form, at least for his descendants and friends, and 
he then gave me permission immediately so to do. I have 
taken the liberty of adding a reproduction of his portrait 
as a frontispiece, taken in the 80th year of his age. 


379 Ashland Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois. 
December, 1898. 



CHAPTER 1 1-5 

Pioneer journey from New York to Illinois.- The pirogue 
of the early settler. Dr. Davison, the " Hermit," the first 


The first murder among early pioneers. The first lawyers. 
Some errors in Chapman's History of Fulton County. 


Tragical death of Peter White. The Ross ferry. A fight 
between pioneers and Indians. 


The ending of the Indian fight. My boyhood ghost for an 
Indian scare. My father's trade with the Indians. Early 
religious customs of the Indians. A war dance. 

CHAPTER V 18-21 

An early pioneer dance. Major Newton Walker and his 
fiddle. A pioneer wagon ride. 

CHAPTER VI -21-25 

The first log houses, their construction. Old-fashioned fire- 
place; the latch-string; the hominy mortar; the reap-hook 
and flail. The first horse-mill of the early settler. " Squaw 
corn." My mother's rescue of her kettle from the Indians, 
with her fire-shovel. 


The Nimans. First blacksmith shop opened by Jacob Ni- 
man. Dr. Charles Newton, a celebrated pioneer physician. 
Another error in Chapman's History. 


Pike County organized. First election in Fulton County held 
at my father's house. My father's vote the first cast in Fulton 
County. John L. Bogardus, one of Peoria's early settlers. 
First marriages in Fulton County. My sister ^Lucinda the 
first white child born in this territory. 

CHAPTER IX r 35-38 

The Wentworths and early Chicago. The Kingstons. 
Brother Lewis' visit to Chicago. 


CHAPTER X 38-41 

The Havana Hotel; its construction. Court held in bar-room 
of my hotel, where Abraham Lincoln attended. Block- 
houses built. 


Arrival of Judge Phelps and William Proctor. Their kind- 
ness to the Indians. Judge Phelps' sportsmanship. 


How the fourteen pigeons were killed with a rifle-ball at one 
shot. The first pioneer stores. Method of shipping cargo to 
St. Louis. The first penitentiary in the state. Christian char- 
acter and benevolent deeds of Myron Phelps and William 


The big snow of 1830-31 and terrible suffering therefrom. 
Description of Indian wigwam. Chief Raccoon and my 
"good luck." 


Meeting of brother Lewis and Chief Raccoon in Indian Res- 
ervation. Indian traits. Tragedy in Dean's Settlement. 


Captain John and his squaws. The Indians' Paradise. In- 
dian traffic in ginseng and wild potatoes, and their extermina- 
tion by wild hogs. 


Appearance of the country when early settlers arrived. Ex- 
tensive and beautiful prairies. My experience in hauling 
hay. Discovery of coal by Mr. Gardiner. First banking 
establishment in Fulton County. 


John Coleman, a remarkable pioneer. Little Pike's first ride. 


The Westerfield Indian scare. Memorable cyclone of 1835. 
Uprising of Canton's women against the saloons of that vil- 


Pioneer hangings. Early lawyers. 


Suicide of Edward Stapleford and its awful consequence. 


The pioneer doctor and his methods of treatment. The In- 
dian doctor. How he cured me. 



Pioneer schools. First steel pens. How some young ladies 
were punished for disobeying rules. First schoolhouse and 
its construction. 


Letter from Mr. John W. Proctor. My reply thereto. 


CHAPTER 1 93-95 

Conditions under which I first became acquainted with Abra- 
ham Lincoln. 

CHAPTER II 95 -98 

Lincoln the grocery clerk. How he qualified himself for sur- 


Some errors in Herndon's " Life of Lincoln." Anne Rut- 
ledge, Lincoln's first sweetheart, and her untimely death. 

CHAPTER IV 102-109 

Lincoln's second sweetheart, Mary Owens. His letter in re- 
gard to the breaking of the engagement. First circus of 
pioneer days. 

CHAPTER V 1 10-1 1 3 

Lincoln's trip on a flatboat to New Orleans. His visit to a 
slave market, and his avowed hatred and intention regarding 
the institution of slavery. 

CHAPTER VI 113-116 

The first step to the White House. The " shirt-sleeve court in 
the corn field." Mr. Lincoln's refusal of a well-earned fee. 

CHAPTER VII 116-120 

How Lincoln first earned the sobriquet of " Honest Abe." 
His speech wins the debate. Circumstances of his speech in 
1858 when running for senator. 


Some facts in relation to Lincoln's storekeeping. Error in 
Herndon's biography. Mr. Lincoln a judge in horse-races. 

CHAPTER IX 123-1 27 

Some incidents of W. H. Herndon's early life. His further 
misstatements in regard to Lincoln. 


CHAPTER X 127-130 

True story of the Lincoln-Shields duel. 

CHAPTER XI 130-133 

Mr. Lincoln's religious belief. 

CHAPTER XII 134-136 

My visit to the grave of the martyred president. 


CHAPTER 1 137-152 

The Churchwell and Kirkpatrick families' personal acquaint- 
anceship with the old hero and statesman. History of the 
tragedy in which Andrew Jackson participated. Our visit to 
him at the Hermitage. Story of Mrs. Jackson's death. A 
little anecdote about Alexander Kirkpatrick. 

CHAPTER II . . 1 52-1 66 

Brief history of Presidential election of 1828. Some further 
incidents concerning Jackson. Our delightful visit to the 
South. How my son Frank finally came to partake of south- 
ern hospitality at the hands of " Aunt Moody." Death of 
Andrew Jackson shortly after our return from the South. 

CHAPTER III 166-1 79 

Circumstances surrounding Andrew Jackson's marriage. 
My visit to the noted battle grounds at New Orleans. Story 
of Jackson's great victory. Some high offices to which he had 
been appointed. A brief review of his childhood. 


CHAPTER 1 180-183 

Mr. Cartwright's successful efforts to defeat slavery. His 
removal to Illinois in 1824. 

CHAPTER II 184-186 

Mr. Cartwright as a great preacher and a great organizer. 
The Jacksonville Ordinance and how Mr. Cartwright assisted 
in its enforcement. 

CHAPTER III 187-192 

The name of Peter Cartwright familiar throughout the state. 
His efforts to drive out the Mormons. Grand ovation 
tendered him in 1869. His labors at eighty-six years of age. 
An incident of his last missionary tour. 




My ancestors, the Ross and Lee families. Their descendants 
and some of their deeds. The journey of my family from 
New York to Illinois. Some of my early personal adven- 
tures. My marriage to Jane R. Kirkpatrick, January ist, 
1840. My personal work in the early development of the 
country.- The offices held and my work as a delegate to the 
National Prohibition convention in the year 1884. The sixty 
years of my membership in the Presbyterian church. 

pioneer {Ti 






OAKLAND, CAL., May 18, 1897. 

I received your letter asking me to write for The Fulton 
Democrat a series of sketches on the early settlement of 
Fulton county. I have received similar requests from 
some of my relatives and old friends. There are no peo- 
ple in the wide world that I have as great a regard for as 
the people of Illinois, and no people for whom I feel the 
love and affection that goes from my heart to the pioneer 
of Fulton county. It was there that I spent the greater 
part of my boyhood and manhood ; it was there where five 
of my children was born and raised, and where many of 
my relatives now live. There is such a warm place in my 
heart for the old settlers of Fulton county that it will be 
a pleasure for me to write these sketches. I hope they 
will add something to their knowledge and pleasure. 

But in going into the early history of the county I will 
be compelled to allude very often to some of my relatives 
who were prominent as early settlers. 

So I will commence with my father, Ossian M. Ross, 

* Fulton County then comprising nearly the entire northern half of 
Illinois; now divided into fifty counties. 


who with my mother, my brother Lewis, my sister Har- 
riet and myself moved from Seneca county, New York, 
and settled on the quarter section of land just north of the 
present city of Lewistown in April, 1821. 

My father was an officer in the war of 1812, and drew a 
half section of land; he settled upon one of the quarters, 
and on the other quarter he laid out the present city of 

The family left tfew York in the fall of 1819 and went 
to Pittsburg, Pa., where he bought a small keel boat on 
which he loaded his household goods and other properties, 
and went down the Ohio river to its conjunction with the 
Mississippi river where Cairo now stands. Here the boat 
was frozen up in the ice, and we remained prisoners there 
until the next spring. Then we went up the Mississippi 
river to where the city of Alton now stands. There we 
left the boat and went back into the country about ten 
miles, near the town of Edwardsville, where my father 
rented a farm. He bought some horses, cows and other 
stock, and during the summer of 1821 raised a good crop. 
After the crops had been secured we went back to Alton 
where the keel boat had been left in charge of the ferry- 
man, and loaded upon the boat all our household goods 
and family, and started up the river to our future home. 
Our hired men drove the wagon and stock across the 
country. Before we started into the wilderness of Ful- 
ton countymy father went to St. Louis and laid in a supply 
of such articles as he thought we would need in our wilder- 
ness home. Among the other things was a good supply 
of flour and salt, guns and ammunition. He also bought 
a surveyor's compass and chain. He went to the sur- 
veyor general's office in St. Louis and got a sectional map 
of the Military Tract, which embraced all the land lying 
between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and extended 
as far north as to include Bureau and Henry counties. 
He also got from the surveyor's office a copy of the field 
notes of the survey of the Military Tract that was made 
about three years before. These field notes were of very 


great importance to him and to many other early settlers 
in the county, as they enabled them. to locate their lands 
by means of well established township and section corners, 
all clearly described in these field notes. Without them 
it would have been impossible for the people to have ac- 
curately located their land. 

The little keel boat that we came up the river in was 
propelled by a sail when the wind was fair, and at other 
times by oars and poles. We were two weeks coming 
from Alton to the mouth of Spoon river at Havana, and 
the team and stock that were driven across the country ar- 
rived a few days later. We ran the boat up Spoon river 
to where John Eveland was living. He had settled there 
a year before. 

My father on examining his map found that his land 
was about six miles north of Mr. Eveland' s place. He 
took some of his men, and with his compass, chain and 
field notes he had no trouble in locating his land. The 
family staid on the boat until the team and stock arrived, 
and then we all moved onto our land. Father selected 
the quarter section north of Lewistown for our home, and 
built a log house on the east side of a little creek that ran 
through the land and near to a fine, large spring of water. 
The location was some sixty rods northeast from Major 
Walker's present residence. We lived there four years, 
and then built another log house where Major Walker now 
lives. W r e staid there until the fall of 1828, and then, 
moved to Havana. Three years after my father sold the 
farm to Mahlon Winans, my mother's brother, for $1000. 

The only white inhabitant in that part of the country 
at that time was John Eveland, who lived on the north 
side of Spoon river about a mile above where Waterford 
now stands, and Dr. W. T. Davison, who lived on the south 
side of the river a little higher up. Mr. Eveland had a 
large family of nine or ten children, part of them grown. 
They had some twenty acres in cultivation, and were en- 
gaged in raising stock. They had come into this country 
from Calhoun county, making the trip up the Illinois and 


Spoon rivers, partly by land and partly by water. Be- 
fore leaving Calhoun county they constructed a large 
pirogue (a large canoe). It was hewed out of a large cot- 
tonwood tree. The length of the boat was forty feet, and 
was about four feet wide. It was run by sail and also by 
oars. On this craft they shipped their hogs and part of 
their goods. These were the first hogs that were ever 
brought to Fulton county and were all of a red color. 

This pirogue is entitled to more particular attention, 
because it was put to many uses of convenience and util- 
ity among the early settlers. It was the first craft used 
to carry people across the Illinois river at the mouth of 
Spoon river, and it was the craft that the Phelpses used 
in shipping their first stock of goods from St. Louis to 
Lewistown, and this was the first stock of goods ever 
brought to Fulton county. This pirogue was also put in 
use by the early settlers to run down Spoon river to the 
Illinois river, and thence down the Illinois river to the 
mouth of the Sangamon river, and thence up the Sanga- 
mon to Sangamontown, where there was a water-mill to 
which our people took their grain to be ground into bread- 
stuff. A great skill had been used in digging out and 
constructing this pirogue. For years it took the place of 
the magnificent steamboat and railway trains that later 
generations employed. 

John Eveland built a mill run by horse power where he 
settled on Spoon river which was the first mill built and 
operated in the county of Fulton. Some four or five years 
after he came to the county he moved and settled five miles 
southeast of Canton, and there built another horse mill. ' 

Dr. Davison, who had settled on the south side of Spoon 
river a little west of the Eveland place, lived alone and was 
called "The Hermit." I could never learn where he came 
from nor when he settled in Fulton county. He had a 
good, comfortable cabin and a bearing peach orchard, 
which showed he had lived there for several years. He 
was doubtless the first settler in this part of Illinois. 

The next settlers that settled in that country were two 


brothers named Reuben and Roswell Fenner. They were 
both single men, and had come from Calhoun county 
upon the Illinois river in canoes and settled on the south 
side of Spoon river about two miles above Waterford. 
About a year after they settled there, Reuben, the oldest, 
was married to a Miss Rowley, whose father was a new- 
comer there. These two Fenners were the first persons 
ever incarcerated in the Lewistown jail, and it was for 
the crime of whipping to death of Reuben's wife, the par- 
ticulars of which I will give in my next communication. 

In 1822 a great many people began to move into Fulton 
county, but most of them came over from Sangamon 
county. They had come from eastern and southern states 
with the intention of settling in the Military Tract, but 
the country was full of Indians indeed they could be 
counted by the thousands. The Sangamon river was about 
the dividing line between the white settlers and the In- 
dians; so these men were afraid to venture over. But 
after Mr. Eveland and my father and a few other families 
had lived among the Indians a year or two and none of 
them had been butchered or scalped the people began to 
come to the county in great droves. The first settlements 
were made about Lewistown and Waterford. 

In my next letter I will give the names of some of the 
other pioneers and will also tell what the Fenner boys 
whipped Mrs. Reuben Fenner to death for, and how they 
broke jail and got away, and of the excitement that it 
caused throughout the county. 






There had been no circumstance ever occurred before in 
Fulton county that caused so much excitement and indig- 
nation as the murder of Mrs. Reuben Tenner by her hus- 
band and his brother. It was the first murder that took 
place in the county after the white people had settled it, 
and the Tenners were the first prisoners that ever occupied- 
the new log jail. 

Reuben and Roswell Tenner were both about six feet 
two inches tall, and were of such dark complexion as to 
suggest that they were part Indian. It was said by peo- 
ple in Calhoun county, where they came from, that there 
was Indian blood in them. They settled on the south side 
of Spoon river near the site of the celebrated Duncan 
Mills, afterwards erected four miles southwest of Lewis- 
town. They built a log house and lived together alone. 
After they had lived there some eighteen months a man 
named Rowley came into the country and settled about a 
mile from the Tenners. The Rowleys had a daughter 
about twenty-two years old and a son aged ten or twelve. 
They had only lived there a few months when Reuben 
Tenner and Miss Rowley were married. He took her to 
their joint cabin. It turned out that Reuben was willing 
that his brother Roswell should share equally with him 
in his wife's affections, and that she rebelled with shame 
and indignation. Then the trouble commenced. She 
fought for her honor as any noble woman would do, but 
the poor girl was at the mercy of two heartless giants. 

Her mother heard that she was sick in bed and went to 
see her, and the girl told her mother how both the brothers 
had whipped her and how cruelly they had treated her. 


The young wife continued to grow worse, and in a few 
days died. When the word came to Lewistown of her 
death a great many of the people, both men and women, 
went down to the Fenner place to attend the funeral. 
When the people assembled they discovered that the Fen- 
ners had made a rough box for a coffin and had put her in 
it ready for burial. But the men opened the box and took 
the body out and examined it. They found many black 
stripes on her limbs and bruises on her body, and they de- 
cided that she had come to her death from cruel treatment 
at the hands of the Fenners. The Fenner s were arrested 
and taken to the Lewistown jail. They had been confined 
for a couple of months waiting for the circuit court to con- 
vene, when one night some of their friends came and as- 
sisted them to escape. The jail was built of hewed logs 
twelve inches square, and a crowbar had been used to pry 
out the end of one of the logs so that they could crawl out. 
The next morning an officer went in pursuit of them, but 
they had gone to their cabin and loaded their goods into 
canoes and gone down the river, and it was the last that 
was ever heard of them. It was thought that some of their 
friends in Calhoun 'county, where they came from, had 
come up and liberated them. If they had not escaped it 
is probable that they would have been hung. 

The new jail stood about ten rods south of the place 
where the old court house was located. At that time 
school was being taught in the old log court house by Peter 
Wood. I can remember how the school boys used to go 
and look through the grates of the jail to see the Fenners 
when they were there, and how we used to crawl in and out 
of the hole between the logs which they crept through in 
escaping. These public buildings in the '20s were very 
primitive buildings that would cause much derision in 
these days. 

Mr. Rowley, the father of the murdered girl, must not 
be confounded with the Rowley -who moved into the settle- 
ment some years after, and who also had some daughters. 
The first Rowley, whose daughter married Fenner, wa? 
about fifty years old, and had at some period in his life 


met with a misfortune that had given him a stiff neck. 
He could not turn his head in any direction any more than 
if his neck had been marble. He was at one time the guest 
of my father during a term of the court. While the Fen- 
ners were in jail they explained this circumstance by say- 
ing that Rowley had at one time been hung by the neck by 
a mob for horse-stealing, but they took him down before he 
was quite dead ; and that was what had injured his neck. 
Soon after the Fenners had escaped from jail, Rowley, with 
his wife and son, left this country. I heard that he had made 
a solemn vow when the Fenners got away that he would 
hunt them down and that their lives should pay the penalty 
for the life of his daughter. 

Last week my brother Leonard, of Lewistown, sent me"a 
copy of Chapman's History of Fulton County. In look- 
ing over it I find that the author makes mention of this 
Fenner case, and says that Judge Stephen Phelps of Lewis- 
town defended him and insisted that according to law and 
the Scriptures a man had the right to chastise his wife. 
The writer is evidently in error, for the Fenners escaped 
and were never tried for their crime ; while Judge Phelps 
was a merchant and did not practice law. 

The first lawyers that practiced law in Lewistown were 
Mr. Caverly of Vandalia, Pew of Springfield, John 
Bogardus of Peoria and Hugh R. Coulter of Lewistown. 
W. C. Osborn and William Elliott were the next lawyers 
who came to Lewistown. Among the first settlers that 
came to Lewistown were my father's family, David W. 
Barnes, John Totten, John Wolcott, Stephen Chase, John 
Jewell, Peter White, A. M. Williams, Lyman Tracy, 
David Gallatine, Stephen Dewey, Elijah Wentworth, 
John Holcomb, Robert Grant, George Matthews, Thomas 
Covell, Peter Cook and William Higgins. Then came my 
father's mother, Abigail Ross, and his three brothers, 
Joseph, Thomas and John, and his two brothers-in-law, 
Simeon TCelsey (father to Capt. William Phelps' first 
wife)i and Hugh R. Coulter. 

In looking over Chapman's History of Fulton County 
I find a great deal of very valuable information in it, and 


I think he is entitled to the thanks of the people of Fulton 
county for getting up so good a work. But I have found 
some errors in it, and some of these I may have occasion 
to mention as I proceed with my narrative, for what the 
people want are the real facts. A history that does not 
contain the truth is no history at all. 

There was another remarkable tragedy in the early set- 
tlement of the county that caused a great deal of talk and 
excitement among the people. It was the death of an old 
gentleman, Peter White. He is mentioned in Chapman's 
history as being one of the first petit jurymen chosen in 
the county. He was murdered, and his son, aged twenty- 
four, was arrested and charged with the murder. I will 
give the circumstances of this terrible tragedy in my next 




In regard to the tragical death of Peter White, supposed 
to have been murdered by his son, I will have to make a 
preliminary statement. When my father first came to the 
mouth of the Spoon river, in 1821, he determined, if pos- 
sible, that he would be the owner of a ferry across the Illi- 
nois river at that place as soon as possible. It was forty 
miles down the river to the first ferry at Beardstown, and 
fifty miles to Peoria, where the next ferry was kept. He 
believed that it would be but a few years until there would 
be a good deal of travel across the river at Havana, and that 
a ferry at that place would be a paying investment. He 
was on the alert, and as soon as a license for a ferry could 
be procured he got one. It proved to be a good enterprise. 
For a good many years the receipts from the ferry 
amounted to about $2,000 a year. 

Peter White came to Lewistown among the early set- 


tiers. He was fifty years old, was a widower, and had one 
son, a large, stout young man twenty-three or twenty- 
four years old, and his name also was Peter. They had 
worked about Lewistown and the old gentleman had 
worked for my father on the farm. He was an eastern man 
of good information, and a reliable man to work. My 
father made a bargain with both of them to go down to 
the river and keep the ferry and to put up a house where 
Havana now stands, as there was no house there at that 
time. Mv father rigged them out with a horse to haul the 

*/ CO 

logs together, with tools, and some provisions to live on, 
and they started for the river. He also secured from John 
Eveland the pirogue alluded to last week to be used until 
the ferry boat could be built. The Whites first erected a 
little shanty to live in until they could cut the timber and 
make the clapboards for the house. So everything ap- 
peared to start off all right. After they had been down 
about six weeks young Peter came up to Lewistown one 
evening a little after dark, and staid at my father's all 
night. The next morning my father asked how he and his 
father were getting along with the house. " K^ot very 
well," was his reply. " Has anything gone wrong ?" asked 
my father. " Yes, my father is dead," replied young 
Peter. On being asked what was the matter with his 
father, he coolly said that he and his father were working 
on the house and that his father had slipped and fallen off 
the house, and that his head struck a log lying near, and 
that it had broken his skull, resulting in his death. My 
father asked the boy what he had done with his father's 
body. He replied that he had dug a grave and wrapped 
him in a blanket, and put him on a sled and hauled him 
out and buried him. 

The remarkable story that Peter told and the manner 
in which he had conducted himself made my father suspi- 
cious ; so he went into Lewistown to confer with others as 
to what had better be done. It was not long until old 
John Eveland came up from Spoon river, and he reported 
that Peter had come to his house the day before, had taken 
dinner with them, had played ball, had run foot-races, and 


shot at a mark with his boys, but had not said a word about 
his father's death. So my father and Mr. Eveland and 
three or four others concluded to go down to the river, and 
take Peter along, and investigate the matter. He took 
them to the grave where he had buried his father. They 
got a spade and dug open the grave, took up the body, and 
examined it. They found a spot on the side of the head 
where the skull had been broken from a blow 
by some blunt instrument. They then went to the 
house which Peter said his father had fallen from. 
There was no logs near the house on which he 
could have struck his head, and the house had 
only been raised six or seven feet, so that a fall from it was 
not likely to kill a man. Some ten feet away was a pile 
of logs, with a couple of handspikes lying upon them which 
had been used in handling the logs. All of the men were 
of the opinion that the old man had come to his death from 
a blow struck by Peter with one of those handspikes. They 
believed that Peter and his father had quarreled about 
something, and that Peter in a passion had struck his 
father with a handspike, but with no intention of killing 
him ; but that the blow had proved fatal. 

As the supposed murder had occurred in Sangamon 
county it was decided that the best thing to do was to send 
Peter to Springfield, and a couple of men agreed to take 
him there and deliver him to the sheriff. The other men 
returned to their homes. The next day the two men came 
back to Lewistown and reported that Peter had gotten 
away from them. It was the general belief that they had 
given Peter a good whipping and let him go. But that 
was the last that was ever heard of him in that country. 

The next parties that my father got to take charge of the 
ferry were ]STorman and Ira Scoville, two brothers. They 
finished the house that the Whites had commenced to build, 
and also built another log house near by. These men staid 
two or three years, when Gorman Scoville engaged to run a 
keel boat for the Phelpses, and then my father rented the 
ferry property to Samuel Mallory and Wm. l^icholls. 
They were keeping the ferry and the tavern at the time the 


fight took place between the Indians and the whites as re- 
corded in Chapman's history, page 205. The author has 
made some mistakes in regard to material facts. He says 
the fight took place in 1828 at Mallory's ferry, and that the 
whites proved to be the victors. This is all wrong. The 
battle took place in 1826, and the ferry was never called 
Mallory's ferry, but was Ross' ferry. ]STo man named 
Mallory ever kept the ferry, and the Indians were the vic- 
tors in the fight. The true history of that fight is as fol- 
lows : As I have already stated, Samuel Mallory and his 
stepson, Wm. Nicholls, had rented the ferry of my father. 
They were both old settlers of Fulton county. Mallory was 
the father of Hirah Saunders' wife and the grandfather of 
Mrs. Judge H. L. Bryant. A few years later he and ISTich- 
olls settled some eight miles south of Canton on the Lewis- 
town road. 

After they had been at the river a few weeks they re- 
ceived by keel boat a barrel of whisky from St. Louis. At 
that time all tavern keepers were expected to keep liquor 
for the accommodation of their guests. In fact, almost 
every merchant in the country kept whisky for sale as free- 
ly as any other kind of goods. A party of Indians were 
travelling up the Illinois river in their canoes and camped 
a half mile above the ferry. They came down to the house 
to trade some furs for whisky, as they had been in the habit 
of doing with the Scovilles. But Mallory refused to let 
them have any whisky. As he was alone they drew their 
tomahawks over his head and compelled him to give them 
whisky. Win. Nicholls, who had been out working in the 
woods, came home, and seeing the situation Mallory was 
in, slipped away and got into a canoe and slipped across the 
river to where the keel boat was lying. But part of the 
boat crew had started off for Lewistown. He hurried on 
and overtook them, and told them the situation that Mal- 
lory was in. So each one of them cut a stout hickory cane 
and went back with him to rescue Mallory. They found 
that some twenty-five Indians had Mallory completely un- 
der their control. Some of them were pretty drunk and 
all were having a jolly time except Mallory. The white 


men ordered the Indians to leave, but they refused to go, 
and then the fight commenced, the white men using their 
hickory canes on the heads of the Indians. But the Ind- 
ians were about four to one, and they succeeded in getting 
the canes away from the white men. It was a pretty hot 
fight for about half an hour, and the whites would probably 
have whipped the Indians, but while they were in the fight 
they saw some squaws coming from the canoes with Indian 
spears and tomahawks for the use of the Indians. Then 
the whites thought it was about time to retreat and get 
more help. As they were hurrying to the ferry boat they 
discovered Simeon Kelsey and a couple of Indians having 
a hard fight near the river, and in attempting to capture 
the Indians one of the Indians ran into the river and they 
took after him with the ferry boat, and when they would 
get near him he would dive under the water and come up a 
rod or two behind the boat and would be making for the 
shore. The white men would then have to turn their boat 
and go after him again ; he would play the same game of 
dodging them; they kept up this chase for about half an 
hour, when they came upon him where they could see his 
head two feet under the water. One of the men ran his 
arm down and caught him by the hair, and as he drew his 
head over the side of the boat another man drew his knife 
and cut the Indian's throat, leaving him to sink in the 

The men returned to the keel boat and Wm. N"icholls 
started to Lewistown for more men to fight the Indians. 
He got there after dark, raised the alarm, and the next 
morning fifteen men on horseback started for the battle- 
field. I will give the result of their expedition in my next 







To continue the story of the Indian fight as described 
last week: The company of men raised in Lewistown 
numbered fifteen, all on horseback and each with a gun. 
Among those in the company were Robert Grant, John 
Jewell, Wm. Johnson, John and Wm. Mcholls, Moses 
Freeman, Isaac Benson, O. M. Ross and Edward Plude. 
Freeman and Benson had come a few weeks before from 
the East, and were engaged at the time in putting the coun- 
ters and shelves in a store room for my father that stood on 
the Harris corner in Lewistown. , Pluclfi was a French- 
man, and kept store in a frame house .where Ewan's hard- 
ware store now stands. 

When the company got to the Illinois river at Havana 
1hey were joined by the keel-boat crew that had had the 
fight with the Indians the day before, with the exception of 
Kelsey, who had been badly used up in the fight and was 
not able to go with them. The men all got on the ferry 
boat and took as many horses as they could crowd on the 
boat, and started across the river. Sonj.e "squaws a little 
way down the river saw the men coming ; they ran up the 
bank and told the Indians that a great company of white 
men were coming with guns. Plude understood the Indian 
language, and knew what the squaws said to the Indians. 
The Indians instantly took the alarm and started on the 
run. Some went to their canoes and poled off up the river, 
and some ran to the woods. The men followed the Indians 
that ran to the woods until they got into the swamps and 
marshes a few miles up the river, and then they had to give 
up the chase. 

The company came back to Mallory's house where the 


fight had taken place the day before. They found some 
pools of blood, and a short distance away they found two 
new-made graves, showing that the fight had been a hard 
one and that at least two Indians had been killed with clubs 
besides the one whose throat was cut on the ferry boat. 
They also found that no more than eight or ten gallons of 
whisky had been taken from Mallory's barrel, and that his 
household goods had not been touched. So that ended the 
fight of Ross' ferry for that time. 

Mallory and Nicholls kept the ferry for about a year 
after that and never had any further trouble with the 
Indians. My father then moved to Havana and took 
charge of the ferry himself. 

The Indian that had his throat cut floated down the river 
and landed in some driftwood at the head of an island three 
miles below Havana. We had often heard the hunters 
tell of the Indian's bones lying in the driftwood there. At 
that time was living with my father John Herriford, who 
was so long a resident at Bernadotte, and he was wellknown 
to many of the pioneers of Fulton county. One Sunday 
John w r ent down to the island and brought up the Indian's 
skull and jawbone. As soon as I saw them I decided to 
have a good deal of sport in frightening the Indians, who I 
were very superstitious. I thoroughly cleaned the skull 
and jawbone, and fastened them on a jackstaff about four 
feet long, sharpened at the lower end to be stuck into the 
ground. I then fixed the skull so that I could put into it 
a lighted candle. When the scarecrow was set up of a dark 
night, with the candle lighted and shining out of the eye- 
sockets, ears, nose, and through the gleaming white teeth, 
it was certainly the most terrifying object mortal ever be- 
held. About a mile above Havana there were eighteen or 
twenty wigwams of Indians, and they were in the habit of 
coming to town every week to do some trading, and would 
frequently stay until after dark before starting home. I 
knew the path they traveled and would have the ghost set 
up a few rods from their path. When they would discover 
my hideous ghost they would start on the run as fast as 
their legs could carry them, frightened nearly into convul- 


sions. It made a great commotion among the Indians for 
awhile, but my father found out what was going on and 
put a sudden stop to all my fun. One day a steamboat 
landed at the wharf and I went down to it with my scare- 
crow. The pilot paid rne $2 for the outfit to put upon the 
bow of his boat at night to scare the natives along the river. 

Soon after my father went to Havana he built three 
warehouses, one on the east side of the river and two on the 
west side. One of these was north of Spoon river, and the 
other on the south side. They were built of hewed logs 
and were used to store the produce of farmers and the mer- 
chandise of the merchants who lived on both sides of the 
river. The upper part of the warehouse on the Havana 
side of the river he finished off for a store and opened there- 
in a stock of goods. The nearest stores to him was at Lew- 
istown, twelve miles away on the west, and ISTew Salem, 
twenty-five miles east. The Phelpses had established a 
trading post, two years before, on Grand Island, nine miles 
below Havana; but when my father opened his store they 
closed out their business on the island and moved to Yellow- 
banks (now Oquawka) on the Mississippi river. 

My father had a large trade with the Indians, for they 
were scattered all over the country up and down the Illinois 
river and both sides of the Spoon river. Their wigwams 
could be counted by the hundreds. About the mouth of 
Spoon river was a great resort for their Indian ponies. 
Hundreds of them would be brought there every fall to 
feed on the grass that kept green all winter ; and if there 
was a deep snow the Indians would chop down small trees 
for their ponies to browse upon until the snow went off. 
My father would often sell them goods on a credit of six 
months, but would require a recommendation from some 
of their chiefs, which made them very punctual to pay their 
debts. The Indians were very numerous in all that coun- 
try until in 1832 when the Black Hawk war broke out and 
they all went west. 

These Indians at a certain stage of the moon each fall 
held a great religious festival on the island just in front 


of Havana. It was then a very heavily timbered and 
picturesque spot. The Indians would congregate there 
in hundreds, and their religious rites and ceremonies 
would last four days. They had an abundance of good 
things to eat, and put in much of the time singing and J 
dancing. One of their ceremonies was to burn a live dog 
to death. They would select a small white dog and make 
his feet fast with four wooden pins which they would 
drive in the ground, and then pile wood and brush over 
him until he was covered four or five feet deep. They 
would set fire to the pile and then gather in a ring about 
it. When the dog would commence to burn he would set 
up the most terrimc and awful howling that was ever 
heard. His cries would ring through the woods for half 
a mile. When the dog would commence howling, the 
Indians would set up some doleful and dismal dirge and 
keep it up as long as the dog kept howling. Then fol- 
lowed a war-dance, and that would be the end of the fes- 
tival. My brother Leonard was present at one time when 
they made a sacrifice of a little dog. He was only about 
seven or eight years old, but when the little dog made such 
a terrible yelping he wanted to clean out the whole Indian 

There were many singular customs and tragic events 
relating to these Indians that I may detail as I proceed 
with my narrative. 





CORRECTION Hon. Inman Blackabj says Mr. Ross is in error in his 
statement in Chapter III, that ' Samuel Mallory was the father of 
Hirah Saunders' wife, and grandfather to Mrs. H. L. Bryant." The 
fact is that Mrs. Hirah Saunders was a step-daughter to Samuel Mallory 
a full sister to Wm. K. Nicholls also alluded to by Mr. Ross. Mr. 
Blackaby lived with W. K. Nicholls in 1846, and Mr. Mallory and his 
wife were living with them at that time. Mr. Blackaby taught school 
in that district and boarded with these people part of the time. Mr. 
Ross' letters will doubtless go into a future history of Fulton county. 
He will join the editor of The Democrat in thanking pioneers for similar 
corrections as to any fact. 

In The Democrat of June 10 I find the story related by 
Major Newton Walker about his fiddling at our Havana 
ball sixty years ago. He has always been noted for his 
accurate memory, but in this case he has forgotten some of 
the incidents. It will interest young people to know about 
the pioneer manner of conducting parties. It was Dr. 
Price, and not Dr. Allen, who went with me to Lewistown 
to secure the services of Major Walker as our fiddler. 
Dr. Price then lived in Havana, but afterwards moved to 
Lewistown. Dr. Hillburt was also a Havana doctor. 
When the Major agreed to go with us we called for him 
at Truman Phelps' tavern in a common two-horse wagon. 
He was evidently expecting a carriage, but was too polite 
to say anything. The only seat was a board laid across 
the wagon bed. The Major came out with his violin in 
a beautiful case, and the case was wrapped up as carefully 
as if it had been a baby. We got on very well until we 
came to the bottom road beyond Waterford where heavy 
teaming had made deep ruts. The front wheels would 
occasionally drop into a deep rut, and down would go our 
seat with all three of us sprawling in the wagon bed. But 
we finally got to the ball-room, and the dance commenced 
much as the Major described it. The man who wanted 


him to play faster was Dr. Hillburt. He was very portly, 
and weighed some 200 pounds. After Hillburt had danced 
about half an hour, he pulled off his coat; a little later away 
went his vest ; and as he got warmer he kicked off his shoes 
and finished the "French four" in his stocking feet. In 
regard to the Major's comments on my dancing I have only 
to say that he had not lived long enough in Illinois to know 
Avhat good Sucker dancing was ! After the dance was over 
we took up a collection of about $10 to pay the fiddler, but 
Major Walker declined the money, and said he would only 
ask us to send him back to Lewistown. I can only say that 
if he had run for office he would have gotten every vote in 

But he is in error in saying that it was the first time we 
had ever met. I remember very well when Col. Simms 
and Major Walker passed through Havana with their car- 
avan from Virginia. They stayed with my father over 
night, and the next morning we ferried them over the Illi- 
nois river. They had the most splendid traveling outfit I 
had ever seen. Their horses were large and fine. They 
had several carriages and wagons, and one tremendous four- 
horse "prairie schooner." The wagon was about twenty 
feet long and eight feet high, and all heavily ironed off in 
old Virginia style. The ferryman said that it was the big- 
gest wagon that had ever crossed the river. 

About two months later I took a carriage and a light pair 
of horses to drive my mother over to Lewistown to visit her 
brother, Mahlon Winans, who then lived where Major 
Walker now lives. Three or four miles out of Lewistown 
one of our axletrees was broken. W'e then made our way 
afoot to the cabin of Nathaniel Bordwine (still living in 
Lewistown), hoping to get a wagon from him, but it was in 
Lewistown. I left mother at the cabin and with my horses 
went on to Mr. McGeehee's farm, but his wagon was not at 
home. Thence I went on to Minard Van Dyke's, then to 
Dr. Rice's, and then to George Bennett's, but their wagons 
were away or busily employed. Lastly I went to Hiram 
Wentworth's place (just east of Lewistown), sure that I 
would get a wagon there. When I rode up to the house the 


first thing that struck my attention was a strapping big 
negro at work in the yard, and in the lane stood the mighty 
"prairie schooner" we had ferried across the river. Major 
Walker came to the door and told me that he had bought 
the Wentworth place. I told him of my predicament ; but 
Col. Simins had driven the carriage into town, and there 
was not a wagon on the place except the huge four-horse 
one. I could not wait for the carriage, as a storm was 

.brewing; so with the negro's help I hitched my two little 
horses onto the big wagon. The stiff tongue stuck six feet 
out ahead of them, and when I climbed into the wagon the 
front end-gate came up to my chin. The big negro said to 
me : "Young massa, what y'er goin' to do wid dat big wag- 
on ?" I told him that I was going to take a lady a riding. It 
tickled him tremendously, and as I drove away he stood 
with his mouth spread and nearly in convulsions of laugh- 
ter. He had doubtless seen many strange things, but to 
take a lady riding in a four-horse wagon was too much for 

And so I drove back in state to get mother. Fortunate- 
ly, there was a high rail fence at Mr. Bordwine's ; so mother 
climbed the high fence and so got into the wagon. [Mrs. 
Ross was very fleshy. Ed.] There was a huge chain on 
each side of the wagon, and at each hill I had to climb out 
and lock the wheels to keep the big wagon from running 
over my little horses. We fortunately arrived in Lewis- 

town after dark, and escaped the astonished gaze of the 
people. But when we got to Uncle Winans' there was no 
high fence, and no ladder. It was a profound problem as 
to how we would ever get mother out of her chariot. But 
finally a common wagon was run up close to the big one, 
and by the aid of a high chair we managed to get her safely 
to earth. The next day mother sent me back with the big 
wagon to Major Walker, and gave me a half dollar to pay 
for its use. But I said it was such a big wagon the price 
might be more. So she gave me another fifty cents. When 
I drove out, there stood that big negro in the same spot, his 
mouth wide open, laughing, just as I had left him, giving 
me the impression that my joke had paralyzed him the 


night before. But I gave him the dollar to pay Major 
Walker. He soon came out and said : " De folks say der 
ain't no charge, and you'm pufecly welcome to de wagin." 





As stated in my first letter, my father moved his family 
from New York to Fulton county, Illinois, in 1821, locat- 
ing on his farm just north of the city of Lewistown. The 
country was at that time a vast wild wilderness, covered by 
majestic trees, and Indian wigwams were scattered thickly 
all over the wilderness. The only indications that white 
men had ever before penetrated the country were the marks 
and numbers on occasional trees, the handiwork of a com- 
pany of surveyors who had surveyed the land some two or 
three years earlier. Our nearest white neighbors were six 
miles away on Spoon river ; the next nearest at Rushville, 
thirty miles south ; and on the north the nearest white in- 
habitants were at Fort Clark, now Peoria, fifty miles dis- 

The first thing to be done on our arrival at our wilder- 
ness home, was to build a log house. The younger people 
will be interested to know how it was built, and how we 
commenced life in the wilderness. The first house my 
father built was 20 x 24 feet in size and one story high. 
We cut trees of uniform size for the logs, and the ends of 
each log were "saddled," or notched, so as to bring the logs 
as near together as possible. The cracks between them 
were "chinked," or filled with small slabs, and then daubed 
with mud inside and out. It made as solid a wall as brick 


and mortar. The gables were made of logs gradually 
shortened to the comb. The roof was made of small logs 
laid from gable to gable; on these were laid clapboards, 
and these were fastened down by logs laid upon each row, 
there being no nails. These outside logs were held in 
place by laying pieces of timber between them. A wide 
chimney-place was cut out of one end of the cabin, and 
the chimney built outside of the house. It was built of 
rived sticks put up cob-house fashion and plastered inside 
and out with clay mortar. The fire-place was made large 
enough to take in a four-foot back-log. The floors were 

O w 

made of puncheons hewed smooth on one side; the doors 
of split boards, shaved with a drawing-knife, and hung 
with wooden hinges. The door was opened by pulling a 
leather latch-string which raised a wooden latch inside the 
door. For security at night the latch-string was pulled 
in, then there was no way to open the door from the out- 
side. After the house was built the first thing that was 
done was to break up twenty acres of land, and fence it, 
and plant it in corn and vegetables, and in the fall we 
put in ten acres of wheat. As soon as the corn got hard 
enough to grate, a grater was prepared by taking a piece 
of tin and piercing it with a great number of holes, and 
then bending it over a piece of short board. With this 
simple instrument the corn was rubbed into meal. It 
made very good bread and was most excellent for mush. 
As soon as the corn got hard enough to pound, a hominy 
mortar was made. This was done by burning a hole in 
one end of a log or in the top of a stump large enough to 
hold a peck of corn. Then we had a wooden pestle which 
was suspended by a spring-pole to lessen the labor; and 
with this pestle and mortar the grains of corn were 
crushed into excellent meal. Another way we had of pre- 
paring our corn was by scalding it with strong lye made 
from wood ashes until the husk was eaten off by the alkali, 
and then washing the corn in clean water until all traces 
of the husk and taste of the lye were removed. This was 
the old-fashioned hominy, and made a very good substi- 



tute for bread. When our wheat was ripe we cut it with 
a sickle, or a reap-hook, and then thrashed it out with a 
flail or tramped it out with horses, winnowed it with a 
sheet, ground it in a horse-mill, bolted it with a hand-bolt 
and then baked it in a Dutch oven. 

After we had lived in the county about a year, John 
Eveland, who lived on Spoon river six miles south of us, 
built a horse-mill, which was the first mill built in Fulton 
county. I remember very well of riding on a horse be- 
hind my brother Lewis when he took a grist of corn to 
Eveland's mill to be ground into meal. The fact of rid- 
ing twelve miles on a bare-back, hard-trotting horse made 
an impression not only on my mind, but also on my legs, 
that I did not soon forget, for I was so sore that I could 
scarcely walk for two days. So I am not mistaken about 
where the first mill was built, although Chapman's His- 
tory of Fulton County says the first mill was built in 
Fulton county by O. M. Koss at Lewistown. About a 
year after that time my father did build a horse-mill, 
which was the second mill built in the county. It was 
located about half way between my father's house and 
Lewistown. The county road from Lewistown to Canton 
at that time ran on the east side of Spudaway creek and 
a few rods west of where the C. B. & Q. railroad now 
runs, and ran by my father's house, located about eighty 
rods northeast of Major Walker's present residence. In 
about four years my father moved to the spot w 7 here 
Major Walker's house now stands and the road (Main 
street) was changed to its present location. When my 
father built the mill he also erected a blacksmith shop 
under the same roof which was carried on by Jacob Ni- 
man, who came from Edwardsville, Illinois, with my 
father. I shall have more to say of him and his wife 
as I proceed with my story. 

As I have already said, the country was full of Indians. 
One could not travel in any direction without coming 
across Indian wigwams. Six or eight families would 
congregate together near some creek or spring of water, 


and the squaws would fence three or four acres of land, 
and dig up the ground, and plant it in corn and beans. 
Those were the principal crops that they raised. The 
Indian men seldom did anything but hunt. The squaws 
did all the hard work. The corn they raised was of a 
dark blue color and the beans a dark red. The kernels 
were large and plump, and both corn and beans were of 
a very early variety. Our people procured some of the 
seed to plant in our garden for early use and raised both 
corn and beans for several years. We named the corn 
"Squaw Corn." The squaws fenced in their ground by 
setting small posts about ten feet apart and tying to them 
small poles with hickory bark or strings cut from deer- 
skin. They would have only two or three poles to the 
panel, for the Indian ponies were the only kind of stock 
they had to fear. But when the white people came in 
with their cattle and hogs the Indians would either move 
further out in the wilderness or would build better fences. 
When we came and settled amongst them the Indians were 
very friendly, and I think they were pleased to have us 
come. When they were kindly treated they showed no 
disposition to molest or hurt the white people. They had 
a strong propensity to steal and pilfer, and would pick 
up any thing they could find and carry it away, so we had 
to be constantly on our guard when they were around. 
About eighteen months after we moved on our farm an 
Indian and two squaws came to our house to trade some 
maple sugar for some flour. The Indians at that time 
made considerable maple sugar, and we were in the habit 
of getting our sugar from them. The men of our family 
were all out in the field at work, and there was no one at 
home but my mother and old Mrs. Mman, my sister Har- 
riet, myself and our little sister Lucinda, who was then 
about a year old. While mother was measuring out the 
sugar and flour one of the Indian squaws stole her brass 
kettle and secreted it under the skirts of her dress. My 
mother brought the kettle from New York and prized it 
very highly. She had been using it just before the Indians 


came in, and as there had been no other person in the 
house, she knew very well that one of them had stolen it. 
So she told the Indians that they must give her back her 
kettle. They positively denied knowing anything about 
it, and were starting to go out of the house when, my 
mother seized our long-handled iron shovel, sprang to the 
door and closed it, and told them they could not go 
until they gave up the kettle. They still denied 
having it. My mother then ordered them to take 
off their blankets, for they all wore blankets. The 
Indian took off his blanket and showed that he did not 
have the kettle; then one of the squaws took off her 
blanket, and showed that she was innocent; when the 
other squaw took off her blanket mother could plainly see 
the outline of the kettle under her skirt. Mother pointed 
to it and told her to take it out, so the squaw unhooked 
the kettle from under her dress and gave it to mother, 
Avhen the Indians were permitted to depart. Mother 
very well knew that if they got out of the house with the 
kettle she would never see it again. Her intention was if 
the Indians did not give up the kettle to hold the Indians 
there with the big iron shovel until she could send one 
of the children to the field for the men. The pioneer 
fire-shovel was a very heavy and formidable weapon. The 
women had to do all their cooking in a fire-place, as cook- 
ing-stoves were then unknown; and the iron shovel they 
used to stir up the log fire and to put coals of fire on 
their bake oven had an iron handle three feet long and the 
shovel part was maybe six inches square, weighing a 
pound or so. It would have been a serious thing coming 
in contact with an Indian's head. We had many other 
little conflicts with the Indians, arising usually out of 
their tendency to steal, and I may mention some of them 
as I proceed with my narrative. 






When my father moved to Fulton county he brought 
with him a man and wife. His name was Jacob ^iman. 
He found them at Edwardsville, where we had spent a 
year in preparation for coming to our wilderness home. 
They had walked all the way from Philadelphia, and 
wanted to go to the Military Tract. My father hired 
them, and they came with us up the river on the keel boat. 
, Niman was a lar^e, stout Dutchman and a blacksmith 
I by trade. His wife was an Englishwoman, a good cook, 
1 an excellent seamstress, and could cut and make any kind 
of a garment from a pair of buckskin breeches to a lady's 
fine dress. In addition to these accomplishments she was 
a professional midwife. It made her a valuable acquisi- 
tion to this new settlement, especially as there was not a 
doctor nearer than Springfield, fifty miles distant. Her 
services were frequently called for until Dr. Newton came 
to the county. JSTiman was a man of rare courage. We 
had bought of John Eveland a sow and litter of pigs and 
placed them in a rail pen near our house. One night 
Niman heard a terrible racket in the pigpen, and seizing 
a handspike he ran out to find a huge panther in the pen 
trying to kill the pigs. As Niman came up the panther 
tried to jump out of the pen, but he struck the animal on 
the head with the handspike and killed it. 

Mr. Niman opened the first blacksmith shop in Fulton 
county. He died about in 1825, and was buried a few 
rods east of where the old Presbyterian church stood (now 
the little East school house. His bones are evidently ly- 
ing in the ground occupied by some of the residents of Ross 
Place.) So Chapman's History has made a mistake of 


ten years in saying that Eastman Call opened the first 
blacksmith shop in Lewistown. .Niman had the first. 
The second was opened by Harrison Hilling, who after- 
wards went to Canton and opened the first blacksmith shop 
in that town. The third shop was opened by A. W. 
Williams, and Eastman Call may have come in fourth. 

Mrs. jSTiman lived at my father's about five years. She 
was a faithful, good woman. She had left a son in Phila- 
delphia bound out to learn the shoemaker's trade. He 
came to see her in 1821, but claimed to be a maker of fine 
boots and shoes, and was afraid the people of Lewistown 
would not patronize him very well, so he located in Spring- 
field. Before my father went to Havana he deeded to Mrs. 
ISTiman a block of lots near where the C. ? B. & Q. depot 
now stands in Lewistown, and built her a house on the 
ground. The old inhabitants will remember the noble 
and kind-hearted old lady, Mrs. Jacob JSTiman ; who was 
ever ready and willing to minister to the sick and sorrow- 

My father also brought with him from Edwardsville a 
man named Zweltin, who was a shoemaker, and a carpenter 
by the name of Enos -both good and reliable men. 

One of the notable characters that settled in Lewistown 
in the early times was Dr. Charles Newton. He came 
from Green county, Illinois, and located in Lewistown in 
1825. He was an Eastern man, had been well educated, 
and was considered a very good and skillful doctor. He 
was the only practicing physician in the county for about 
two years. He practiced all over the county where there 
was a settlement. He kept no regular office but made his 
home at my father's most of the time. He would occasion- 
ally take a drinking spree that would last a day or two, but 
aside from that he was as perfect a gentleman as any person 
could wish to have at their house. My father first met him 
at Vandalia and told him that he thought there was a good 
opening for a doctor in Lewistown ; so he closed up his bus- 
iness and moved to Lewistown. He was a good deal at- 
tached to my father, and often said that there was no place 
that seemed like home except at our house. A year after 


we moved to Havana Dr. Newton came down to live with 
us. So he was the first doctor at Lewistown and the first 
at Havana. 

While the doctor was living at our house in Havana my 
mother started me off one day to hunt up a girl to do our 
housework. I crossed the river and struck off into South 
Fulton, and every house I came to I enquired for girls. 
Finally I was directed to an old gentleman who lived down 
in the edge of Schuyler county, by the name of Louder- 
back, who was said to have four girls. I found the place 
and told them my business, and the oldest one agreed to go 
with me. It was a long trip and we did not get home until 
late at night. The doctor had gone to bed, but he called me 
to his room and wanted to know what kind of a girl that 
was that I had brought home. I told him that she was a 
splendid, fine-looking girl. "Do you think," said he, "that 
she would make the doctor a good wife ?" I replied that I 
thought she would make any man a good wife. So the 
doctor courted her, and in about three months they were 
married. Havana was at that time in Tazewell county, 
and Tremont was the county seat, fifty miles away. So 
the doctor had to get his license in Lewistown, and em- 
ployed Esq. J. P. Boice of Lewistown to come down and 
marry them. As the marriage had to be performed in the 
county where the license was issued a crowd of some twen- 
ty-five or thirty of us, with Esq. Boice and the bride and 
groom, rowed out in the Illinois river in a boat until we were 
past the channel, so as to be in Fulton county, and the cere- 
mony was performed on theboat. Therewasayoungharness 
maker of Havana in the party who had been paying his at- 
tentions to Miss Louderback, and in fact was very much 
smitten with her, for she was indeed a very handsome and 
attractive young lady. When Esq. Boice was repeating 
the marriage ceremony, and came to the place that if any 
person had any objections why the said parties should not 
be bound in the holy bonds of matrimony to then let it be 
known or forever after to hold their peace, young Cook, 
who was sitting on the gunwale of the boat, rose up and 
said that he objected. The 'squire asked him what was 


his objections. He replied that he wanted the young lady 
himself. Esq. Boice told him that he did not think that 
was a legal objection, so went on and performed the mar- 
riage ceremony. The ferry boat was then rowed back to 
town, and all went to the Havana Hotel, where a wedding 
inf air was given by the host and hostess, and the table was 
spread with the best that the country could afford. About 
three months later the doctor and his wife moved over into 
South Fulton where he practiced a couple of years, and 
then they moved up near the town of Cuba. Dr. Newton 
was appointed surgeon in the Black Hawk war. He was 
entitled to two servants, and had the right to draw pay for 
them the same as for himself. When the pay roll was be- 
ing made out the officers asked the doctor what were the 
names of his two servants. He had no servants, but in or- 
der to draw pay for them he gave the names of George 
Baker and Truman Phelps. On being asked afterwards 
why he gave these two names, he said that they had served 
him more times than any other men he could think of. 
Each one kept a tavern and a bar, and it was at the bar 
that they had " served " him so faithfully. Truman 
Phelps was a very proud man and was terribly cut up at 
being- officially rated as a servant. 

Chapman's History says that Truman Phelps kept the 
first tavern in Fulton county. This is a mistake. George 
Baker kept a tavern in the brick house occupied by Will- 
iam Proctor (on the site of the Ewan hardware store), two 
years before Truman Phelps came to the country. While 
Dr. Newton was still living with my father in Lewistown 
word came that the wife of Capt. David Haacke was very 
sick and for the doctor to come and see her. He lived 
about six miles north of Lewistown. Big Creek had to be 
crossed, a'nd at that time the waters were high. The doctor 
had been drinking some that day, and father was afraid 
for him to go alone; so he sent me along to see that the 
doctor got through all right. The doctor found his patient 
a very sick woman. He did the best he could for her, 
but in a few days she died. Some years after that Capt. 
Haacke became the owner of one of the finest farms be- 


tween Canton and Cuba. After the death of Dr. Newton 
Capt. Haacke married the doctor's widow, and soon rented 
out his farm and moved to Canton. The last time I was 
in Canton, some eighteen years ago, I visited Capt. and 
Mrs. Haacke at their home, and I think they were the 
happiest couple I have ever met. So I think Capt. Haacke 
could agree with me in what I told Dr. Newton the even- 
ing that I brought the young lady to the hotel, that " she 
would make any man a good wife." 








The first county formed west of the Illinois and east of 
the Mississippi, and also embracing all North Illinois, was 
Pike, organized in 1821. The county seat was Cole's 
Grove, now in Calhoun county. In 1824 it was moved to 
Atlas, and in 1833 it went permanently to the fine little 
city of Pittsfield. The town of Atlas was laid out on a 
bluff three miles from the Mississippi river by the Ross 
brothers, who came to Illinois the year before my father 
came. They were John, William and Leonard ; they were 
enterprising and excellent citizens and owned a good deal 
of land in that part of the state. They not only located 
the county seat to their liking, but subsequently preempted 
about all the local offices in that county. They were dis- 
tant relatives of our family, having also come from Scot- 
land. My father was so friendly with them that he named 
my brother Leonard for the one of that name. Some of 
the descendants of these Pike county Rosses now own fine 
fruit ranches in Santa Clara Valley, Cal. 


The first probate court held in Pike county was in May, 
and the first circuit court in October, 1821, at Cole's Grove. 
The first probate judge was Abraham Beck ; the first cir- 
cuit judge, John Reynolds ; first representative, Nicholas 
Hanson; first senator, Thos. Carlin. Carlin and Rey- 
nolds afterwards became, each, governor of Illinois. 

The first election ever held near Lewistown was at my 
father's house Aug. 5, 1822, while we were still in Pike 
county. The judges of the election were Abner Eads, 
Stephen Chase and Reuben Fenner, and John Totten was 
the clerk. The candidates for governor at that election 
were Edward Coles, Joseph Phillips and Thomas C. 
Brown. Coles got nineteen ; Phillips, seven ; Brown, 
six. For congress, Daniel P. Cook got all the votes, thirty- 
three; for representative, Nicholas Hanson got thirteen 
votes ; for sheriff, John Shaw eighteen, Leonard Ross 
twelve, and B. C. Fenton twenty; for coroner, Daniel 
Whigple twelve. James Bacon fifteen. 

The first election ever held in Fulton county after its 
organization was also held at my father's house about 
three-quarters of a mile northeast of the Court House 
Square in Lewistown, on April 14, 1823. The boundaries 
of the county at that time extended from the Illinois river 
to the Mississippi and to the northern line of the state, in- 
cluding Galena, Chicago and all that country. The judges 
at that election were George Brown, Amos Eveland and 
Hazel Putnam; the clerks, Thos. Lee Ross and John 
Totten. There were no great national issues at that elec- 
tion, but it was run on local issues mainly. It was then 
seventy-four years ago just what it has ever been, North 
Fulton vs. South Fulton ; and the fight was over the office 
of sheriff. The people of North Fulton had nominated 
for that office a man named Abner Eads of Peoria, and the 
people of South Fulton had nominated my father, Ossian 
M. Ross. The voters from the northern part of the county 
(all Northern Illinois) came down the Illinois river in 
canoes, then up Spoon river to Waterford, and then walked 
through the woods seven miles to my father's house where 
the election was held, for it was then the only voting pre- 


cinct in all that majestic portion of Illinois now containing 
fifty counties, many hundreds of cities and towns, and peo- 
ple by the millions ! It was a big battle like some of the 
later county seat fights in Fulton county. Eads and 
Ross had marshalled all their forces from Rushville on the 
south to Fort Clark (Peoria) and Chicago on the north. 
The North Fultoiiites had brought whiskey with them. 
In those days men could travel and hold elections without 
carrying much food, for they could live on game ; but they 
could not get on without plenty of whiskey. When the 
election was over it was found that thirty-five (35) votes 
had been cast, and that Eads had beaten Ross by a majority 
of four votes ! But it afterwards was shown that as Eads 
came down the river with his sixteen voters he stopped at 
" Town Site " (now Pekin) in Sangamon county, and 
brought with him two bachelors fraudulent voters and 
by this means won the election. 

I have in my possession the original poll books of the 
elections of 1822 and 1823, just as they came from the 
hands of the judges and clerks of those elections. So I 
can tell exactly how every vote was cast. The poll book 
for 1823 shows that my father cast the first vote that was 
ever cast in Fulton county (all Northern Illinois), and it 
was cast for Abner Eads, his opponent for the office of 
sheriff. My uncle, Hugh R. Coulter, was the first county 
and circuit clerk, judge. of probate and county recorder. 
My uncle, Thomas Lee Ross, was the first assessor and 
county treasurer. My uncle, John N. Ross, was the first 
surveyor. In 1824 my father was elected county treasurer 
and sheriff and was appointed the first postmaster in big 
Fulton county. 

In regard to the first settlements and first towns built 
up in the territory I have described, Chicago had the start 
of the others, and Peoria was the next. But in 1830 they 
both fell behind some of the other towns. The towns of 
Atlas, Quincy, Columbus, Rushville, Lewistown, Peoria, 
Galena and Chicago would not, in 1830, have varied 200 
in population, Lewistown being a little ahead of all the 
others. From the most reliable accounts to be had, Chi- 


cago in 1830 did not contain more than eighteen to twenty 
houses, and its population did not exceed 200. It was or- 
ganized in 1833, and incorporated as a city in 1837. 

One of the first settlers at Ft. Clark (Peoria) was John 
L. Bogardus. He went there in 1819. He was a lawyer, 
and he and Hugh R. Coulter were the first lawyers in Ful- 
ton county. Mr. Bogardus attended the first court terms 
held in Lewistown. He w r as a very energetic and success- 
ful business man. He owned most of the land that now 
constitutes Peoria and laid out the first town lots in that 
city. He also kept a ferry across the Illinois river at that 
place. One peculiar line of business he engaged in was 
the manufacture of fish oil, shipping it by boat to St. Louis. 
At the outlet of Peoria Lake in early times vast quantities 
of fish would congregate. He had them caught in vast 
quantities in seines, would throw them into huge hoppers 
holding several wagon loads, and leave them there to be 
tried out into oil under the fierce rays of the sun. He had 
to employ Creoles and Indians to do this work, as white 
men would at once go down with fever and ague, against 
which the Indians and Creoles were proof. This fish oil 
was about the first produce ever shipped out of the county, 
except furs. 

The first marriages in this territory, of which there is 
any record, were two that took place one at Chicago and 
the other at Lewistown on the same day, July 2, 1823, 
both then in Fulton county. One was the marriage of 
Thomas Lee Ross and Susan ~Nye, who were married in 
Lewistown by Hugh R. Coulter, J. P. The other was the 
marriage of Alexander Wolcott and Eleanor Kinzie, 
(doubtless the daughter of the founder of Chicago), at 
Chicago, by John Hamilton, J. P. Both marriage licenses 
were issued by Hugh R. Coulter, county clerk, at Lewis- 
town. The bride of Thomas Lee Ross was a niece to Mr. 
Bogardus above alluded to. 

My sister Lucinda was the first white child born in this 
immense territory above described. She was born in 
Lewistown Oct. 7, 1821. She became the wife of Judge 
William Kellogg of Canton, afterwards a member of Con- 


gress, and now resides at Ashtabula, Ohio. Her daughter, 
Mrs. Judge L. W. James, resides in Lewistown. 

.For two years after the organization of Fulton county 
the people of Chicago had to come to Lewistown for their 
marriage licenses, tavern licenses, ferry licenses, etc., and 
to do all county business. When a couple wanted to get 
married they would generally postpone the matter until 
they found another couple of the same mind, or found 
some one who wanted a tavern license, and then they would 
send a man down to Lewistown to do both jobs and thus 
save expense, as it took a man at least two weeks, horse- 
back, to make the trip, and he would have to camp out in 
the woods most of the nights because there were but few 
settlers -along the route. 

It was a great relief to Chicago when Peoria county was 
organized in 1825, and the county seat located at Peoria. 
They could then get their tavern and marriage licenses at 
Peoria and save fifty miles of travel. So after 1825 
Peoria took Chicago under its wing, and took a kind of 
motherly care over the little thing until it got big enough 
to take care of itself.* 

* MANKATO, KAS., July 12, 1897. 

Editor Democrat : I have been reading with deep interest the pioneer 
sketches of Mr H. L. Ross, especially the last one relating to Dr. Newton. 
A great deal has been said about his drinking, etc., but no one has told 
the good story that he was finally converted and baptized while at the 
home of my grandfather, Joseph Geyer, near Cuba. My grandparents 
took care of him during his sickness and death. I have in my poses- 
sion one of his ancient medical books, and also a queer old forceps 
with which he pulled the teeth of the pioneers of Fulton county. 


The editor must also say that Dr. Newton was buried in the old 
cemetery. About three years ago, in companv with the late Dr. Alex. 
Hull, the editor was shown the spot where Dr. Newton was buried, 
although the grave is not marked. It was Dr. Hull's purpose to urge 
the erection of a suitable monument to Fulton county's first physician, 
but his death probably frustrated that kindly purpose. It seems to us 
that the phvsicians of Fulton county may yet desire to perform this 
p'rateful act. Editor Democrat. 





In early times two families moved from Lewistown to 
Chicago one helping to organize the first Methodist 
church in that city, and the other the first Presbyterian 
church there. 

Elijah Wentworth and family came from Maine and lo- 
cated first at Vandalia, 111. In 1823 they moved to Eul- 
ton county and settled on a piece of land half a mile north- 
east of Lewistown adjoining my father's farm. They had 
three sons Hiram, Elijah and George; and four daugh- 
ters Lucy, Eliza, Sophia and Susan. They were Metho- 
dists, and helped organize the first Methodist church in 
Fulton county. They were very industrious people. Mr. 
W. was a shoemaker, and his sons engaged in farming. 
The mother and her daughters carried on an extensive 
business in manufacturing buckskin gloves and mittens 
and buckeye and straw hats. The buckskins they bought 
of the Indians, who killed the deer and dressed the hides 
beautifully. The buckeye timber came from the river 
bottoms. The men prepared that very tough and elastic 
timber by working it into splits that were braided into 
very handsome and useful hats. They very much resem- 
bled the Panama hats afterwards so generally worn by gen- 
tlemen in hot weather. The straw used in making the 
straw hats was cut with a sickle or reap-hook about 
the time the grain began to form, because it would 
toughen better than at any other time. The straw 
was bound into sheafs and laid away for future use. 
These ladies not only supplied the Lewistown market, but 
sold gloves and hate at Springfield, Peoria and other 
distant places. In 1827 Mr. Wentworth and family (ex- 
cept Hiram and Eliza, who were married), moved to Chi- 
cago. Eliza married a Peoria merchant named Clark, 


and one of her daughters became the wife of Edward 
Sayre, Fulton county's famous pioneer circuit clerk. The 
Wentworths started from Lewistown with two two-horse 
wagons. In 184-2 Mr. Wentworth made a trip back into 
Fulton county to visit his son Hiram. He stopped over 
night with my mother, then living in Canton, and there 
told me the story of his moving to Chicago fifteen years be- 
fore. He said that on his trip north, after he left Canton 
they did not see any white people until they reached 
Peoria ; and not one from Peoria to Ottawa and not one 
from Ottawa to Chicago. They camped out at night and 
slept in their wagons. With their flint-lock guns they 
killed all the game they needed, and with the provisions 
they carried with them they fared well on their journey. 
When they arrived at Chicago they found some fifty 
soldiers at Ft. Dearborn and some forty or fifty wigwams 
scattered down the Chicago river and some on the lake 
shore. There were five of six stores or trading posts, and 
their trade was chiefly with the Indians. There were not 
(in 1827) more than ten or twelve white families in Chi- 
cago. Some of the traders had married squaws and were 
raising big families of half-breeds. Mr. Wentworth said 
a great deal of the land in Chicago, along the river and 
lake, was low and marshy with numberless muskrat houses 
scattered about. Mr. Wentworth went back about four 
miles from the lake and located on a fair eighty-acre tract 
and improved. His daughters here bought buckskins from 
the Indians and resumed the manufacture of gloves and 
mittens. The improvement of Chicago was very slow 
until in 1830, when emigration began at a lively rate. It 
was about this time that Mr. Wentworth and family helped 
to organize the first Methodist church in that city. 

Perhaps some of the readers of The Democrat may re- 
member an article that appeared in this paper Feb. 7, 
1884. It was an extract from the Northwestern Chris- 
tian Advocate, stating that Mrs. Lucy Walker Wentworth 
had died in Chicago, aged eighty-four, and that she and her 
husband were the founders of Methodism in Chicago, and 
that they had formerly lived in Lewistown. The editor 


of The Democrat enquired if any of the pioneers remem- 
bered the family. I replied at once. It was the same 
Wentworth family I am now writing about. 

I was never able to learn how much the old gentleman 
got for his eighty-acre farm, now almost in the heart of 
the city ; but he told me that if he had held to it a little 
longer it would have made him independently rich. 

The other family, that moved from Lewistown to Chi- 
cago, and helped to organize the first Presbyterian church 
there, were named Kingston. He was an old Scotch 
Presbyterian. He took an active part in church affairs 
in Fulton county, and I believe he was a ruling elder in 
Lewistown. His son John was about my own age. One 
of his daughters taught in the Sabbath school. Mr. 
Kingston kept store in a log building that stood on the site 
of the late ^Nathan Beadles' fine residence. The cabin 
was built by my uncle, Thos. Lee Eoss, who carried on the 
hatter's trade in it until he went to the lead mines in 1827, 
when Mr. Kingston took the store. I think Mr. K. went 
to Chicago about in 1830. In 1832 he came back to 
Lewistown to settle up some business and stopped at my 
father's house. He said he had come from Chicago to 
Ottawa in a stage, and from there to Havana by a steam- 
boat. He was very enthusiastic about Chicago's future, 
and told my father that good lots could then be bought 
there at from $400 to $600 each, and he urged him to go 
up and make an investment. But father was then build- 
ing the Havana Hotel and had a large amount of busi- 
ness on hand, but said he would as soon as possible send 
Lewis to look at the place. Lewis was then in the Black 
Hawk war. When he was mustered out he went on to 
Chicago and spent several days looking over the place. 
When he came home his report was not favorable. He 
described the land as resembling that about the mouth of 
Spoon river and around Thompson's lake; he said Chi- 
cago river was about like the Spoon river and that it 
overflowed like the Spoon river; that it was a swampy 
country, and that his horse had almost mired down 


as he rode out to Mr. Wentworth's; he also told about 
the muskrat houses, and said (it was in 1S33) that there 
was not a house in Chicago that compared in size or finish 
with the Havana Hotel which my father had just com- 
pleted. I believe it was the largest house in Illinois at 
that time. I shall have more to say about that hotel in a 
future letter. 




I will give a short history of the old Havana Hotel 
which my father built in Havana in the early pioneer 
times. It will interest the younger generation of today 
to know something about the hardships and difficulties the 
old pioneers had to encounter, and with what fortitude 
and determination they accomplished whatever they un- 
dertook to do. It was certainly a very great undertak- 
ing to build such a house at that time. There was no pine 
lumber to be had nearer than Cincinnati, and the few saw- 
mills that were in the country at that time had been erected 
on small streams in Fulton county. Therefore most of the 
sawed lumber used in the hotel was sawed by hand with 
a whip-saw. When the building was completed it was in 
all probability the largest building in Illinois and had 
cost more money than any other one erected at that time 
in the state. The building of the hotel was commenced 
late in 1831 and finished in 1833. It combined hotel 
and store, and both together was eighty feet long by thirty 
feet in width, with upper and lower porches ten feet wide 
on each side of the house. The main part of the hotel 
was four stories high, and the store part two and a half 
stories. The first story was built of a stone wall twelve 


inches thick, and the ground floors were laid with stone. 
The balance of the building was of wood. There were 
two large chimneys, with three fireplaces opening into 
one and four into the other. All the lumber, stone and 
lime used in building the house were brought from Fultoii 
county. The sills, posts, joists and all the other large tim- 
bers were cut and hewed in the woods. The stone was 
taken out of a hill in Liverpool township north of Thomp- 
son's lake and carried by boat down the lake and by the 
Illinois river to Havana. The lime was burned in the 
same township and hauled by Zenos Herrington to Ha- 
vana in a truck-wheeled wagon with two yoke of oxen. 
The truck- wheeled wagon was built without one particle 
of iron being used in its construction. The wheels and 
every part were wholly of wood. Mr. Herrington had 
no need to halloo for the ferry boat when he came to the 
river at Havana, for the ferryman could hear the creak- 
ing of his wagon half a mile away. The timber used in 
building the hotel was white oak, ash, and black and white 
walnut. The weatherboarding and shingles were split 
out of white oak timber and shaved to a proper thickness 
with a drawing knife. The weatherboarding was four 
feet long and the shingles twenty-eight inches. The lath 
was all split out in the woods, and all the doors, window- 
sashes and mouldings had to be made by hand. The 
weatherboarding and shingles were made near Lewistown 
by Jonathan Cadwallader and his sons Isaac and John. 
They then lived in Lewistown. They were Quakers, and 
did a good, honest, Quaker job. The carpenter work was 
done by Moses, Lewis and Alexander Freeman and Isaac 
and Jesse Benson. The mason work was done by Ben- 
jamin Hartland, and the painting by Andrew Maxfield. 
I mention these names because they were old settlers and 
many of their descendants are still living there. About 
twenty-five years after the hotel and store were built the 
big house was destroyed by fire, and was uninsured. 

My father kept the store and ran the hotel up to the time 
of his death in 1837. Mvmother and brother Lewis admin- 


istered on his estate. His stock of goods and other per- 
sonal property were appraised at a little over $9,000, and 
the administrator's sale amounted to a little over $10,000. 
The sale was made on twelve months' credit, the purchaser 
giving note drawing twelve per cent, interest. After my 
father's death the store house and hotel were rented out, 
and the family moved to Canton. In 1840, when I had 
taken a wife in Canton, I went back to Havana and took 
charge of the ferry and of the hotel, and ran them for three 
years. It was during this time that the county of Mason 
was organized and the county seat located at Havana. 
There was no court house at that time, and so court was 
held in the bar-room of my hotel, and some of the other 
rooms were used for jury-rooms. It was there that such 
men as Abraham Lincoln, John J. Harris, E. D. Baker, 
H. M. Wead, W. C. Goudy and John P. Boice attended 
the courts and took part in the pioneer law suits. I re- 
member at one of the court terms the afterwards famous 
Gen. Harding had a narrow escape from death. He was 
very fond of hunting, and went out one morning to try his 
luck for a deer. At that time they were very plenty along 
the Illinois river. He did not have to travel far until he 
saw a deer, and he drew up his gun and fired . at it. But 
instead of killing the deer the breech-pin flew out of his 
gun and struck him in the face, making a terrible wound. 
It was several days before he could be taken home, and he 
carried the scar until the time of his death. Mr. Lincoln 
never appeared to care very much about hunting and sel- 
dom engaged in that sport. His chief amusement and 
delight was in telling anecdotes and stories. In the role 
of story-telling I have never known his equal. His power 
of mimicry was very great. He could perfectly mimic 
the Dutchman, the Irishman, or the negro. In the even- 
ing after court had adjourned a great crowd would gather 
around Lincoln in the bar-room to listen to Lincoln's 
stories, and he seemed to enjoy to the utmost the peals of 
laughter that would fill the house. I have heard men say 
that they have laughed at some of his stories until they had 


almost shaken their ribs loose. I heard of cases where 
men have been suffering for years with some bodily ailment 
and could get no relief, but who, having gone two or three 
evenings and listened to Lincoln, had laughed all their ail- 
ments away and had become well and hearty men, and had 
given Lincoln the credit of being their healer. 

It was during the time that my father was building the 
Havana Hotel that he had a 200-acre farm fenced and 
broken up a half mile east of Havana, the rails having been 
made on the banks of Spoon river and boated down that 
river and across the Illinois. 

In 1833, during the Black Hawk war, when so many 
people were leaving the Military Tract for fear of the 
Indians, he put his whole force of men to work and built a 
fort, or block house, at Llavana, to be a refuge for the white 
settlers. The effect of this was to stop the ruinous stam- 
pede of people away from Pulton county. 

I only speak of these things to show what the old pio- 
neers could accomplish under difficulties when they had a 
mind to work and accomplish something.* 




Among the early settlers who came to Fulton county in 
the old pioneer times there were none who did more to de- 
velop all the avenues of prosperity and to exert an influence 

*Gen. L. F. Ross informs us that three block houses instead of 
one were built one on each side of the hotel in Havana, and one on the 
west bank of the Illinois river and north of Spoon river on the road to 
Lewistown. Gen. Ross says the people of Fulton county helped to 
build these houses. The mouth of Spoon river was then directly op- 
posite Havana, and the ferrry ran from Havana to the upper side of 
Spoon river. This large hotel stood on the south side of Market street 
on the edge of a high bluff overlooking the river. The bluff has been cut 
down and the site of the hotel is now vacant. 


for the good of society than Judge Stephen Phelps and his 
son-in-law, William Proctor. They came from the state of 
New York and stopped for a year or two in Sangamon 
county, and then moved to Fulton county, settling in 
Lewistown in 1825. Chapman's History of Fulton 
County says they came in 1827, but it is an error. I have 
in my possession a record of the fact that cannot be gain- 
said. It is the journal book kept by Norman and Ira 
Scovill when they ran the ferry over the Illinois river at 
Havana for rny father in 1825 and 1826. It was the only 
ferry on that river between Peoria and Beardstown, and 
all the earlier pioneers in Fulton county came over the 
river at Havana. The Scovills kept the ferry on shares, 
paying my father one-half of all sums collected on ferriage. 
They kept a very accurate journal, with full particulars of 
all parties ferried, giving dates, names, articles ferried, 
etc. So it is that by referring to this ancient 
journal I can tell the exact date and year when 
many of the old settlers came to the county. I will copy 
a few items from this journal to show the reader how it 
was kept: 


Feb. 18. Judge Phelps, ferriage of 2 horses, and 

wagon, and 2 footmen $ 0.75 

Feb. 23. Judge Phelps, 2 wagons, 4 horses, 2 cows 

and 1 footman 1.37^ 

July 27. William Proctor, horses, wagons and 

footman 2.62^ 

This shows beyond controversy, I think, when Judge 
Phelps and Mr. Proctor landed in Fulton county. Then 
I find these items for the same year, 1825 : " Feb. 5, 
Elijah Putman, ferriage, $2.00;'" "July 7, William 
Walters, ferriage, $2.00 ;" " July 22, Keden Putman, 
$2.00 ;" " July 26, Jacob Ellis, $2.00 ;" " July 26, Levi 
Ellis, $2.50." And so the record goes on during 1825 and 
1826. It would seem to be a thoroughly reliable per- 
haps the only correct record of the dates on which so many 
famed pioneers came to Fulton county. 


When Judge Phelps and his family first came to Lewis- 
town they lived in a log house north of the present M. E. 
church and west of T. F. Stafford's store and residence. 
The log house was built by John Jewell. They lived there 
some six or eight months and then moved (in 182 5) to the 
lots now occupied by the Phelps-Proctor store and Mrs. 
Mary Phelps' residence. When Judge Phelps bought that 
property there had been erected on it a two-story hewed log 
house by John Wolcott, who sold the place to him. Judge 
Phelps added a log kitchen and had the whole building 
lathed and plastered, and it was the first lathed and plas- 
tered house in Lewistown. Judge Phelps also bought a lot 
opposite on the west side of Main street and there built a 
hewed log house about 18x20 feet for a store house; but 
two or three years later they built a frame addition to their 
store, and then gave the log store-room exclusively for a 
camping place for the Indians who came long distances to 
trade w 7 ith them. Sometimes the Indians came forty or 
fifty miles with their pack horses laden with deer skins 
and furs, and they often would remain three or four days 
to do their trading with the Phelpses, who had opened up 
the first store in Fulton county. They were very fair and 
honorable in all their dealings with the Indians and whites, 
and their trade increased rapidly. 

Judge Phelps had five sons and one daughter who were 
single when they came to Lewistown, his oldest daughter 
having married William Proctor. The names of his sons 
were Alexis, Myron, Suinner, William and Charles. 

Judge Stephen Phelps was a man about five feet ten 
inches high, portly built, with light complexion, and 
weighed about 200 pounds. His son William at fifty years 
of age resembled his father very much. The judge had at 
some period of his life received an injury to his back which 
hindered him very materially in walking, and was obliged, 
as long as I knew him, to walk quite slowly and with a cane. 
But aside from that he had excellent health. He was kind 
and courteous and sometimes inclined to be a little mirth- 
ful. His wife was a tall, slender lady of dark complexion, 
weighing about 120 pounds, and a better or kinder-hearted 


lady I do not believe ever lived upon the face of the earth. 
She was good and kind to all, and everybody loved and 
honored her. I have often heard it said that a poor man's 
child or an Indian papoose never went from Judge Phelps' 
door with a hungry stomach as long as his wife lived. 

The Phelpses owed a good deal of their success in their 
Indian trade to the kind and friendly treatment the In- 
dians received at the hands of Judge Phelps and his wife. 
There were trading posts at Peoria, but the Indians would 
come from the vicinity of that place all the way to Lewis- 
town to trade their skins and furs to the Phelpses, for they 
had confidence in them, and was afraid to trust the Peoria 
traders. The Phelpses erected a press for the purpose of 
compressing their pelts and skins into small packages, for 
more convenient shipment to St. Louis. This machine was 
something after the fashion of a cotton press, but instead of 
using screws, wooden wedges were employed to compress 
the pelts. The compressed package would be about 2x3 
feet in size and would weigh from 100 to 150 pounds. 

The judge's youngest son, Charles, was near my own 
age, and as boys were rather scarce at that time, we were 
a great deal together. We both had our shotguns and were 
both very fond of hunting and fishing ; and when Saturday 
came around and there was no school, we would strike out 
for a hunt, both of us being about ten years of age. When 
Judge Phelps came to Lewistown he brought with him a 
Dearborn carriage and a large brown horse which they 
called "Prince." The judge was fond of driving, and 
would often take Charles and myself in his Dearborn and 
drive us to where we would find good hunting and fishing. 
One of our favorite resorts was the spot where 
Spudaway creek empties into Spoon river. There 
we would always find plenty of fish and game. 
The judge was also fond of hunting, and would 
take his gun when he went out, and would 
often shoot at game while sitting in his carriage 
as he drove through the woods. His horse was very gentle 
and would not scare at the firing of the gun. In those times 
there were a great many pigeons in the country, and the 


judge delighted very much in killing them. One morning 
when I was at the judge's house he had just come in from 
a hunt with his horse and Dearborn, and had brought home 
fourteen pigeons and told Charles and me that he had killed 
all of those pigeons with a rifle ball and at one shot, and he 
wanted us boys to guess how he had done it. After we had 
made a good many guesses, and had finally given up the 
riddle, he then told us how the remarkable feat was accom- 

There are some other things that I would like to men- 
tion in regard to the Phelps and Proctor families, but will 
continue the story in my next letter. I will also give the 
readers a week in which to guess how Judge Phelps killed 
fourteen pigeons with one shot of a rifle ball. In my next 
I will explain the miracle. 






In my last I promised to tell how it happened that 
Judge Phelps killed fourteen pigeons with a rifle ball at 
one shot. It happened as follows: The judge had gone 
out one morning with his horse Prince and his Dearborn 
carriage for a ride, and had taken his shotgun with him 
as was his custom. After firing a few times at squirrels 
his shot-bag was empty ; but he found in his pocket a rifle 
ball. So he took his knife and cut the ball up into small 
fragments of lead and loaded his shotgun with them. He 
soon came to a threshing-floor on my father's farm, where 
we had been threshing wheat by having the horses trample 
it out on the ground. A large flock of pigeons had settled 


down upon the threshing-floor to pick up the grains of 
wheat that had mingled with the dirt; and when these 
pigeons rose in a cloud to fly away the judge fired at them 
on the wing, bringing down fourteen pigeons at one shot 
with a rifle ball cut into fragments. 

The first year after the Phelpses came to Lewistown they 
rented twenty acres of my father's farm and put it in corn. 
^Sumner plowed the corn, and my brother Lewis rode the 
plow-horse, while I rode the plow-horse for my father's 
hired man in the adjoining field. It is a singular fact 
that in the first settlement of the county the eastern men 
had to have a boy to ride the horse when they plowed corn, 
while the southern men would always drive their plow- 
horse with a single line. 

After the Phelpses had been in business about two years 
in Lewistown, Alexis and Sumner established a trading- 
post at Yellow Banks (now Oquawka) on the Mississippi 
river, and had a large trade with the Indians of Iowa and 

William Phelps in his youthful days was very fond of 
the chase. He kept a pack of hounds that were well 
trained, and during the summer months he would start 
out in the morning, as soon as it was daylight, with his 
horse and hounds and a tin horn for a fox-hunt. The 
deep baying of his dogs and the blare of his horn could in 
\ those times be heard for miles around the village. There 
were a great many wolves, foxes and wildcats in the coun- 
try, and he would occasionally start up a lynx or a panther. 
These animals were very annoying to the farmers, as they 
would kill a great deal of the stock and carry off the poul- 
try, and William and his hounds contributed very materi- 
ally to their extermination. The first enterprise that 
William engaged in after leaving home was to set up an 
Indian trading-post on Grand Island, ten miles below Ha- 
vana in the Illinois river. After carrying on this trade 
about one year he was married to Caroline Kelsey and 
struck out for the wilds of Iowa where he was engaged 
for many years in trading with the Indians. He was sub- 


sequently engaged in steamboating on the Mississippi 
river for many years. 

The next store that was opened in Lewistown was that 
of Edward Plude, a Frenchman, and Patrick Hart, an 
Irishman. They built a frame storehouse on the lot 
where William Proctor lived for many years, on Main 
street. They kept the store for about two years, and then 
my father bought their goods and moved them to a store 
he had built on the Edwin Harris corner, south of the 
court house. After my father bought their goods, Plude 
clerked for my father, while Hart clerked for the Phelpses. 

A man named Taylor started the next store. He came 
from Philadelphia. He brought on a large stock of 
Indian goods and also brought with him from St. Louis 
two Frenchmen who were accomplished Indian interpre- 
ters, as clerks. Mr. Taylor's ambition was to seize upon 
the splendid Indian trade secured by the Phelpses. He 
sent his French clerks out among the Indians to secure 
their trade, but made a great failure of it. The Phelpses 
had dealt so honorably with the Indians and white people 
that no power could break the confidence that was reposed 
in them, and they held their magnificent Indian trade 
until the Indians were driven out of the country. Mr. 
Taylor was a very bright and enterprising man, and while 
he was in Lewistown he was married to Miss Ruth Cad- 
wallader, a daughter of Jonathan Cadwallader. who then 
lived in Lewistown. She was a grand, noble and beauti- 
ful young Quaker lady. I happened to be going to school 
in Lewistown at the time and boarded with Mr. Taylor. 

The Phelpses had a keel boat built for their own tracfcT 
to St. Louis which was run by ISTorman Scovill as its cap- 
tain. I was present at one time when they were loading 
this boat at Thompson's lake. The cargo consisted of 
barels of pork and honey, packages of deerskins and furs, 
barrels of dried venison, hams, beeswax and tallow, sacks 
of pecans, hickory nuts, ginseng and feathers, and dry 
hides. In an ordinary stage of water it took about four 
days to run a keel boat to St. Louis, by poles, oars and 


I sails, and from twenty to twenty-five days to return. 1 
had gone to St. Louis one time with my father with a 
drove of horses, and came back with Xorman Scovill on 
his keel boat. The river was quite high, and we had to 
do a great deal of "cordeling" and ''bushwhacking,"* and 
it took us twenty-five days to come to Havana. I remem- 
ber that we stopped at Alton as we came up the river, and 
all hands went up town to see the new penitentiary that 
had just been built. There were only two prisoners in 
the penitentiary, so we had the privilege of seeing the 
first prisoners ever sent to a penitentiary in the State of 
Illinois. Before that time the penalty for the commis- 
sion of a crime was whipping on the bare back. 

Mr. Proctor came to the county in 1825, some four, 
months after the Phelpses had come, and lived in a house 
near to where the Phelpses had stopped, just north of 
present Methodist church. He lived there a short time 
while building a two-story log house on the hill near the 
site of his tannery (the site of the present residence of 
T. B. Harben). He carried on the tan-yard for several 
years, and then engaged in the mercantile business, and 
by fair and honorable dealing he soon built up an exten- 
sive trade. 

There have been but few, if any, of the early settlers 
of Fulton county that have done as much to advance the 
true interests and prosperity of the country as Myron 
Phelps and William Proctor. Whenever a college, 
church, railroad, or factory, or any public improvement 
was wanting, they would generally head the list with the 
largest contribution. When the first railroad was built 
through Fulton county Myron Phelps gave more for its 
construction than any other citizen. I happened to be 
one of the directors and also treasurer of the road for 
two years while it was being built, and therefore know 

* This "cordeling" and "bushwhacking" was the use of ropes by 
which the boat was pulled by men walking along the shore, or by 
ropes tied to trees by the use of skiffs the boat being pulled from tree 
to tree. 


the facts that I am stating. Then the grand and noble 
Christian characters of these men were a blessing not only 
to the church of which they were honored members, but 
to the whole community where they lived. I remember 
some of the circumstances that attended the conversion 
of Myron Phelps. I was then living in Canton, and Rev. 
Robert Stewart was pastor of the Presbyterian church at 
that place. The Methodist brethren had been wonder- 
fully blest in some of the campmeetings they had been 
holding, so the Rev. Mr. Stewart and the officers of his 
church borrowed the Methodist camp ground and all its 
appurtenances, and concluded they would try it. So 
they sent off to Springfield and got Rev. John Hale, the 
pastor of the First Presbyterian church of that place, 
and also sent to Quincy and got the Rev. Dr. David Xei- 
son of that place to come and help run the meeting. 
They were two of the strongest and most powerful 
preachers in the state. The campmeeting lasted for 
eight days, and there were 150 or 200 conversions. A 
great many Lewistown people attended the campmeeting. 
My mother had tent on the ground, and I remember that 
old Dr. Rice and William Proctor were there during the 
entire eight days, and took a very active part in the meet- 
ings. When the meeting closed Mr. Proctor took Dr. 
ISTelson home with him and he held several meetings at 
Lewistown. The spirit and influence of that campmeet- 
ing seemed to pervade all Fulton county. Dr. Nelson 
visited Myron Phelps at his home, and it was through 
his mighty influence that he was converted and became 
a member of the Presbyterian church. I often heard it 
remarked that when Myron Phelps was converted that 
"he was converted soul, body, pocketbook and all," for he 
was always very liberal and benevolent in giving to all 
worthy objects. I have understood that Myron Phelps 
was in the habit of giving $1,000 and Mr. Proctor $500 
every year for missionary purposes, besides other munifi- 
cent gifts. I again recall the time when at Vermont a 
few of us were struggling to build a small church how Mr. 


Proctor came to our rescue and gave us $100 to buy the 
lot on which that Presbyterian church still stands. 

These men carried their religion with them in all their 
business transactions. Their influence was felt for good 
all through this pioneer country. In the heavenly world 
alone will be revealed the good they accomplished. I 
have been informed that Myron Phelps was in the habit 
of always closing his store during the hour of Wednesday 
evening prayer meeting so that his hands could attend the 
meeting, and if there were any customers in the store at 
the time they were invited to go along. I am also told 
that he never went to the polls to vote that he did not take 
off his hat and cast his ballot with as much conscientious 
solemnity as he would perform any other religious duty. 





One of the most remarkable and startling events that 
ever took place in the early history of Fulton county and 
Illinois was the big snow that fell in the winter of 1830- 
'31. Perhaps no event has ever happened in the history of 
this western country since its settlement by white men that 
has caused so much suffering among the people and animals 
as did the "deep snow." 

The old settlers will remember many things about it, 
but another generation has come on the stage of action since 
then, and they may be interested in the history of that 
event and some of the circumstances attending that dread- 
ful, long, cold winter. 

The snow commenced falling the latter part of December 
and continued off and on for about a. month, and when it 
ceased falling the snow in the timber, where it did not 
drift, was about three feet and six inches on the level, and 


in the prairies along the fences and in the hollows, where 
it had drifted, it was ten arid fifteen feet deep. The snow 
lay on the ground about three months and during that time 
the weather was intensely cold. During many days the 
mercury ran from ten to twenty degrees below zero. Be- 
fore that time the winters had been so mild and with so lit- 
tle snow that stock seldom had to be fed more than from 
four to six weeks during the entire winter, and wild hogs 
kept in fairly good order from off the mast (acorns). Dur- 
ing the whole winter the farmers had been in the habit of 
gathering only what corn they needed to feed their stock in 
the fore part of the winter, and the consequence was that 
the greater part of the crop was in the field when the deep 
snow came. The farmers had made no provisions for such 
a catastrophe and there was great suffering among the peo- 
ple. A great deal of their stock died, while the wild hogs, 
deer and other wild animals in the forests were nearly 
swept out of existence. The Indians came in great numbers 
from the high lands and settled on the Illinois and Spoon 
river bottoms. They brought with them their droves of 
horses and ponies, and kept them from starving by chop- 
ping down small trees of soft wood, such as basswood, cot- 
toriwood, elm and soft maple. Their ponies would not 
only browse upon the limbs and bark of the trees, but would 
frequently eat up the whole tree. So the Indians got their 
ponies through the winter with very little loss. 

The winter of the deep snow was in many ways favorable 
to the Indians. The snow storm drove great herds of deer 
from the prairies and hill country to the river bottoms, and 
the Indians killed great numbers of them. The deep snow 
was but little impediment to the Indians in travelling, for 
they had snow shoes with which they could walk or run 
over the snow as well, almost, as the whites could go over 
the bare ground. The snow shoe was made by bending a 
hickory stick in very much the shape of an ox-yoke ; the bot- 
tom of the bow would be covered with strips of deer skin to 
be tied firmly onto the ankles and feet. These shoes were 
about as heavy as heavy boots. When an Indian in snow 
shoes got after a deer that had to travel in snow three and 


one-half feet deep, the Indian was pretty sure to get the 
deer and cut his throat. The snow was also a great ad- 
vantage to the Indians in hunting the otter, mink and 
muskrat. These animals would come out of their dens and 
leave their tracks or trails in the snow, and the Indians 
could easily track them, when they could be caught. And 
it was the same with the fox and raccoon ; they could be 
tracked to their holes in the hills or in trees, when the In- 
dians would spear them out of their holes. 

I have heard my father say that he had a bigger trade 
with the Indians than in any winter before or after. I 
have no doubt that the same was true of the Phelpses. 

One of the prominent camping places selected by the In- 
dians during that winter was on Spoon river about two miles 
below old Waterf ord. They had there erected some twenty 
wigwams. The young readers of The Democrat may be 
interested in learning how these wigwams were built. A 
common sized wigwam for a family of eight or ten persons 
would be about 12x16 feet in size. Small saplings would 
be cut and set firmly in the ground, big ends down, in rows 
three feet apart, all round the plat (12x16 feet) to be en- 
closed. Then the limber tops of the poles would be brought 
together and fastened with hickory wyths or strips of 
leather. Then small poles would be tied lengthwise to the 
saplings, making a cross-barred and solid frame. The 
whole would then be covered with a heavy matting that 
had been woven by the squaws from the coarse swamp grass 
yet to be found on the bottom lands. This completed the 
wigwam, and it had the shape of a hay stack. An opening 
was left as a door way and this was protected by a blanket. 
A pit 2x3 feet in size and eight or ten inches deep would 
be dug in the center under the wigwam for a fire-place, and 
there was an opening at the top for the smoke to pass 
through. The Indians were quite comfortable in these 
wigwams, with their blankets and furs, in the coldest 
weather. They never used bedsteads, tables or chairs. 
They usually sat on packages of skins or sacks of feathers. 
The whole family usually took their meals out of a wooden 


tray, using knives and wooden spoons, but no forks. In 
cold weather they kept their fires burning night and day. 

Among the Indians that camped at this place was a chief 
named Osopin (in English, Raccoon). He had traded 
with my father when he kept store in Lewistown, and also 
after he started a store in Havana. He would often buy 
goods on credit, and was always punctual to pay for them 
at the time agreed upon. My father entered his name on 
the ledger, "Raccoon Osopin," which was both his English 
and Indian names. He was. a good friend to my father, 
and brought many Indians to trade with him. My father 
often made Raccoon handsome presents. I remember that 
he once brought him from St. Louis a tomahawk with the 
handle striped off in red, white and blue, with an iron pipe 
on the hammer part of the tomahawk, there being an open- 
ing through the handle, so the chief could use his beautiful 
tomahawk as a pipe in which to smoke his tobacco. Rac- 
coon was greatly pleased with this princely gift. 

I often helped my father in his Havana store while he 
was trading with the Indians, and so became very well ac- 
quainted with Raccoon and his boys. They took quite a 
liking to me and had often asked me to go to their wigwam 
and take a hunt with them. My father had brought a 
small Indian pony for me to ride when I went hunting. So 
when the deep snow had been sufficiently beaten down into 
a road between Lewistown and Havana, I started one day 
with my pony and gun for the Indian camp on Spoon river. 
When I got there I found that the young Indians had all 
gone hunting, and only Raccoon was left to take care of 
the wigwam. While I was warming at the fire he pro- 
duced a buckskin roll of sinews that had been taken out of 
the legs of deer. When an Indian kills a deer he always 
takes the sinews out of its legs to use in place of thread in 
sewing their moccasins, mittens, etc. ; and they also use 
these sinews about their persons as charms, or for "good 
luck," as they call it. So Raccoon tied a bit of sinew in the 
buttonhole of my vest. He said it would insure me good 
luck, and that I would become a brave hunter. After stay- 
ing a couple of hours I started back home on my pony. I 


had not gone over a mile when I saw a large deer standing 
on the ice in a little lake near the road. He was browsing 
from bushes, and did not see me. There was a large tree 
about eighty yards from the deer. I tied my pony to a 
tree and with my gun in hand crept silently toward the 
tree, keeping it between me and the deer. Then I rested 
my gun against the tree, took good aim and fired. The 
deer fell, but immediately jumped up and commenced to 
flounder around in the deep snow. I saw that I had only 
wounded him, and was terribly afraid that he would get 
away. I never thought of reloading my gun and shooting 
him again, as I should have done, but left my gun at the 
tree, and with my knife in my hand ran as fast as I could 
to the deer. It was jumping around in the deep snow, and 
I slipped up behind it and cut its ham-strings, which stop- 
ped its jumping. It then settled down in the snow, and I 
got it by the ears and cut its throat. It was 
soon dead. I little realized the great danger I 
had encountered in attacking a wounded deer, but 
found out, after I got older, from talks with old 
deer hunters, that a wounded deer was the most dangerous 
animal that runs in the woods. I was then but a little past 
thirteen years old, and small of my age, and if the deer had 
turned upon me he would have stamped me to death. The 
next problem I had to solve was how to get my deer home, 
for if I left him there the wolves would eat him before 
morning. I was three miles from home, about north of 
what is called California Bend in Spoon river. It was 
about February 1st, and the weather was terribly cold. 
But I took my pony and gun to where the deer was lying. 
I took my saddle girth and placed it around the pony's 
breast instead of under his belly, and with the halter strap 
hitched the deer to the stirrups. It made a very good 
harness. I then got on my pony with my gun and started 
for Havana. It was a hard pull for my little pony to get 
the deer out of the deep snow, but when we got onto the 
beaten track it was easy sledding. I crossed the Illinois 
river on the ice and got home a little after dark. It was 
the first deer I ever killed, and I was very proud of my 


success. When Raccoon came in, a few days later, and I 
told him of my success, he was much pleased ; he patted me 
on the back and said I would be a great hunter. Then he 
pointed to the bit of sinew he had tied in my button-hole, 
saying it was the cause of my good luck. 

The Pottowatomie Indians that lived about Lewistown 
and Havana were soon moved to an Indian reservation in 
Kansas by the government. During Johnson's adminis- 
tration, thirty years later, word was sent to Washington 
that some of those Indians were in a starving condition. 
My brother Lewis, then a member of Congress, was ap- 
pointed with two other members of Congress to go to the 
reservation to investigate the matter. Arrived there he 
found a good many Indians he had known in Fulton coun- 
ty, and among them our old friend Raccoon. There was 
great rejoicing among those Indians when they found out 
who my brother was, and they had a doleful story to tell 
him of the hard treatment they had received after they had 
been driven from their good hunting grounds on Spoon 

I shall have more to say of these Indians in a future 




In my last letter I spoke of the visit made by a Con- 
gressional committee, including my brother Lewis, to the 
Indian reservation in Kansas, where it was reported that 
great suffering existed among the Indians. As there 
'were no railroads, these members of Congress had to make 
the trip on horseback. They passed through many Indian 
reservations and got all the information they could from 
the Indians, from their agents, and from missionaries 


and school teachers who located among them. They 
found that some of the tribes were in a most deplorable 
condition and on the verge of starvation. The Pottowat- 
omie Indians that had been driven from the Lewistown 
and Havana country had been placed upon an Indian 
reservation in Kansas and were drawing a small annuity 
from the government, as an alleged compensation for the 
lands that had been taken from them in Fulton county, 
but it was not half enough for their support. They had 
undertaken to farm the land in Kansas, but the locusts, 
grasshoppers and hot winds of that country had ruined 
their crops. To make it still worse for them, the govern- 
ment had taken away their guns, so they had to hunt game 
with their bows and arrows. 

As I have said, my brother Lewis found many Indians 
that he had formerly known at Lewistown and Havana, 
and who had for years traded with my father and the 
Phelpses. These Indians were wild with delight to meet 
him, and could only express their joy by shaking his 
hands and hugging him. He had there met the old chief, 
Raccoon, who was delighted to see him. Raccoon in- 
quired about his father and Judge Phelps, and when 
Lewis told him that they were both dead the tears rolled 
down the swarthy face of the old chief, and he said, 
"They Avere good men to the Indians." The missionaries 
at the agency told Lewis that Raccoon had been converted 
and had joined the church with several of his family, 
and that he took an active part in carrying on the schools 
and in missionary work among the Indians. 

Judge Phelps and my father had always been good 
friends to the Indians. They believed that it was the 
safest and best policy to treat them as friends, although 
they would sometimes lose a little by their stealing, for 
it was as natural for the Indians to steal as it was for the 
smoke to go upwards. But all that they would steal 
amounted to but very little. In the early settlement of the 
county there came a good many settlers from the southern 
states, many of whom had had relatives and friends massa- 
cred bv the Indians of the South, and these southerners 


as a rule looked upon these Indians as their natural enemy 
that they had no rights that a white man was bound to 
respect. They believed that "the only good Indian was 
a dead Indian/' and they would often get into trouble 
with them. The hogs of the white men would run in the 
woods, and the Indian dogs would chase and worry them ; 
and then the white men would shoot their dogs, and then 
the Indians would shoot their dogs and sometimes their 
hogs to get even with them. Sometimes a white man 
would have something stolen from his place, and the 
Indians would always be accused of the theft; and then 
the first Indians they could find would be most cruelly 
whipped with hickory poles, when in all probability the 
Indians knew nothing about the stealing. The outraged 
Indians would then go to Judge Phelps or my father and 
tell them how they had been abused, and would always 
get their sympathy when they thought they were wrong- 
fully treated. These men would often remonstrate very 
seriously with these settlers for their inhuman treatment 
of these Indians. 

I can remember some of the circumstances of a tragedy 
that took place in the southeast part of the county in what 
was called " Dean's Settlement." Among the settlers 
there was a man named William Richardson. He was a 
large, stout man, and was a bitter enemy to the Indians. 
He would often catch them and cruelly whip them with- 
out just cause, and would kill their dogs whenever he 
came across them. One day when he was out in the 
woods hunting he came across one of his hogs that had 
just been killed in the woods. He told some of his 
neighbors he knew the Indians had killed his hog, and he 
was going to have his revenge. A day or two later a dead 
Indian was found propped up, sitting on the dead hog. 
There were a good many Indians at the time living on 
Grand Island in the Illinios river, opposite the Dean 
Settlement, and they were informed about the dead 
Indian and came arid took him away and buried him. 
They were terribly incensed about the murder and 


claimed that the Indian was out hunting when he was 
shot down in cold blood and that he had never killed a 
hog, and had never done the white people an injury. 
There was little doubt among the settlers that Richardson 
had brutally shot down the Indian from ambush and had 
brought his body and placed it on the hog to strike terror 
to them; that if they killed hogs their lives would have 
to pay the penalty. The Indians would have in all prob- 
ability taken vengeance on Richardson but for another 
tragedy which soon took place. 

Richardson had a neighbor named Bassett who lived 
about a mile away who believed that Richardson was too 
friendly with his wife. He went from home one time 
and came back unexpectedly very early in the morning; 
and as he came near his home he saw Richardson coming 
out and starting for his home. Bassett went into his 
house, took down his rifle, and took a near cut across the 
woods for Richardson's house, and got ahead of him and 
secreted himself behind a tree, and as Richardson came 
along he shot him dead in his tracks. 




I will give a short sketch of one of the most remarkable 
Indian families that ever lived in Fulton county. I am 
sure no other family of Indians ever caused so much 
gossip and so much bitter denunciation from the female 
part of the community, both white women and squaws, 
as did the conduct of an Indian chief called "Captain 
John." He was a large, fine-looking Indian about six 
feet, four inches tall, and was one of the most prominent 
chiefs in the Pottowatomie tribe. It was told by some 
of the other Indians who had known him before he came 


to Fulton county that he had taken the side of the British 
against the Americans in the war of 1812, and that it was 
while he was amongst the British soldiers that he obtained 
the name of "Captain John." lie and his squaw had 
learned to speak some words in the English language. 
The first we knew about them they had their wigwam on 
Big Creek near the road that ran from Lewistown to 
Totten's Prairie (now Smithfield). Their wigwam was 
about three miles northwest of Lewistown close by the 
dismantled little village of Milton. It appeared from 
what the Indians told that "Captain John" had at one 
time became jealous of his squaw, and in his wrath, while 
under the influence of bad whisky, had bitten off her 
nose. She wore a buckskin patch over it, and it gave 
her a most hideous appearance. To add insult to injury, 
"Captain John" took to himself two young wives. They 
were handsome young squaws about twenty-two and 
twenty-four years old, and he took a god deal of pride 
in dressing them up in the most gay and gorgeous style. 
~No squaws in all that part of the country were able to 
dress as fine as "Captain John's" young squaws. They 
had long black hair which they braided and left to hang 
gracefully over their shoulders, with the ends tied in bows 
of gay ribbon. They wore large silver earrings, and four 
or five strands of large glass beads around their necks. 
Their dresses were of a gay color with a row of silver 
brooches down the front. Their skirts were of the finest 
quality of blue cloth. They wore bands of silver clasped 
on their wrists, and their fingers were decorated with 
many rings. Their moccasins were ornamented with 
beads and fine needlework. "Captain John" appeared to 
be very proud of his young squaws. But the lot of the 
old squaw was a hard and bitter one. She went poorly 
dressed, much below the average of other squaws that 
came to town. "Captain John" and his three squaws were 
in the habit of coming to town about once every week to 
trade at Phelps' store, and they always passed by nrv 
father's house. "Captain John" always appeared at the 


head of the procession, a fine and stately figure; next 
came his two young squaws in all their finery, and the 
poor old squaw brought up the rear with a package of 
peltry strapped across her shoulders and bending pitifully 
under its weight. She was compelled to do all the hard 
work. The white women and some of the squaws were 
so indignant at "Captain John" and his two young squaws 
for the way they treated the old squaw that they would 
have liked very much to have mobbed all three of them, 
but "Captain John" was a big chief, and they were 
afraid of him. But as the country began to settle 
up with white men the story became current among them 
that "Captain John" had been identified with the British 
army, and fought against the Americans in the war of 
1812, and also that the British officers had paid a bounty 
to the Indians for American scalps ; and they were disposed 
to believe that all the money "Captain John" was spending 
in dressing his young wives so gorgeously had not been ob- 
tained by selling deer-*kins and furs, but that it had been 
paid to him for his services against the Americans, and per- 
haps for some of the scalps of their white brethren. Add- 
ing these things to the cruel treatment of the old squaw, of 
which everybody was cognizant, a very bitter feeling was 
aroused against him among the men as well as amongst the 
women. It was very seldom that an Indian had more than 
one squaw. I have known one or two instances where an 
Indian had one or two squaws, but never before where 
they had as many as three. So bitter was the life of this 
poor old squaw that she often wished that she could leave 
this cruel world and go to the Indian's happy hunting 
ground where she would be no longer tormented with rival 
wives and a cruel husband. The only relief the poor old 
thing had from her sorrows was to drown them in whisky. 
She had no trouble to find some person who would let her 
have whisky, for it was the general impression that the only 
comfort she ever had was when she was hilariously drunk. 
In that condition she would tell in broken English the story 
of her hard lot what a bad Indian "Captain John" was, 


what a good squaw she had always been, how "Captain 
John" had got drunk and bit off her nose, that his two 
young squaws were no good, that they would not work, and 
that she had all the work to do, etc., etc. 

So it came about that "Captain John" found that it was 
not safe for him to stay in that part of the country any 
longer ; and he packed his goods on some ponies and with 
his three squaws moved up to the Rock river country among 
the Black Hawk tribe. I never heard from "Captain 
John" and his squaws after that time. 

It is probable that there is no other country in the 
United States in which the Indians so delighted to live and 
which they were so sorry to leave as the beautiful hunting 
grounds embraced in the counties of Eulton, Schuyler and 
Mason. It was a perfect paradise for them. They could 
find about everything that their hearts could desire, and it 
was about as good a place for the poor white man as it was 
for the Indian. The deer roamed through the country by 
the thousands. It is not an exaggeration to say that I have 
seen 500 deer in the woods and prairies in a single day. 
Every other kind of game and fowl was abundant, and the 
rivers and small streams were full of fish. The bee trees 
were so numerous that white settlers and Indians could get 
all the honey they wanted, and there were groves of sugar 
trees all over the country from which an abundance of 
maple sugar was made. The wild fruit was equally won- 
derful, there being no limit to the plums, crabapples, 
grapes, black and redhaws, gooseberries, blackberries, dew- 
berries and strawberries. Acres upon acres of wild onions 
could be found in the woods, and wild potatoes in great 
abundance. Potato creek, south of Spoon river, received 
its name from the great abundance of wild potatoes that 
grew on its bank. The hard freezing in the winter did not 
affect them and they were about as good to eat as Irish po- 
tatoes. There was another valuable plant that grew in the 
woods, called ginseng. The roots resembled very much the 
parsnips familiar in our gardens. Ginseng grew in the 
woods in the rich loam, and great quantities of it would be 
dug and sold to the merchants, who would sack it and send 


it to St. Louis. It was used for medical purposes and 
brought a good price. The Indians had a large traffic in 
digging ginseng and wild potatoes, which they sold to the 
merchants and settlers. But when the hogs became very 
numerous in the woods, they soon exterminated both the 
ginseng and the wild potatoes. 







I have been asked by some of my old friends in Fulton 
county to tell something about how the country looked 
when the first settlers arrived in it, about the groves, the 
prairies, the watercourses and the kinds of wild animals 
found in tho country. So I will endeavor 'to answer some 
of these questions. 

The lace of the country has undergone a wonderful 
change in appearance, aside from the great improvements 
that have been made. The beautiful groves of timber then 
standing unmarred by the woodman's ax have been cleared 
away; and the handsome prairies, that were then covered 
with high grass and beautiful flowers, have been broken up, 
so it is hard to tell which was timber and which was prairie 
land. There is one thing that has altered the looks of the 
country very much since it was first settled, and that is the 
extensive growth of young timber and brush, unknown in 
pioneer times. Before the county was settled by white peo- 
ple, prairie fires were permitted to sweep through the coun- 
try every year, and they destroyed what is now called "bar- 
rens" and underbrush. The smooth prairies came square 
up to the distinct groves of large timber. In those days a 
man traveling through Table Grove, and many of the other 


groves in the county, could see a deer 500 or 600 yards 
away in the prairie ; but twenty-five or thirty years later a 
deer could not be seen a distance of fifty yards because of 
the growth of the brush and young timber. There was no 
such land in the county as that now called "barrens." The 
groves were very beautiful before any of the timber had 
been cut, and before there was any undergrowth. Table 
Grove was one of the great landmarks of the country. It 
could be seen from the bluffs of the Illinois river on the 
east, and from Macomb on the west, and from the north for 
twenty-five or thirty miles. Travelers across the unbroken 
and almost pathless prairie were guided in their course by 
Table Grove and other perspicuous groves. 

Many of the streams of water, such as Big Creek, Sugar, 
Otter, Copperas, Cedar and Buckheart Creek, would run 
grist and lumber mills about two-thirds of the year. These 
streams and their valleys, covered by a thick growth of 
timber and full of wild game, were beautiful beyond 

The prairies were generally named after the men that 
first settled upon them. The prairie where Canton stands 
was called "Barnes' Prairie," for David W. Barnes, who 
was the first settler there. The prairie west of Cuba was 
called "Totten's Prairie," in honor of William Totten, who 
was the first settler. The prairie in Pleasant township was 
named "Rowland's Prairie," for William and Eiley Row- 
land, the first settlers. The prairie on the Illinois bottom 
south of Spoon river was called "Gardiner's Prairie." An 
old Scotch Presbyterian settled there in 1823. He had 
two sons and three daughters. He was the father of James 
and Charles Gardiner, whose names are frequently men- 
tioned in Chapman's History of Fulton County. But no 
allusion has been made to the old father. He was one of 
the most exemplary Christian men, as well as most enter- 
prising, among the early pioneers. He never failed of 
holding family worship morning and evening, and would 
always ask a blessing at the table, and after the meal was 
through no one was allowed to leave the table until he had 
returned thanks. Such devotion was remarkable among 


the early pioneers. He moved from Springfield, and 
brought with him nursery stock for the famous orchard 
that for a long time was known all over that country as 
"Gardiner's Orchard." Gardiner's Prairie extended south 
from Spoon river about three miles, and from the bluffs to 
a fringe of timber within half a mile of the Illinois river, 
also three miles. The land was very rich, but part of it 
was too wet for cultivation. The prairie that joined 
Thompson's lake, north of Spoon river, was about two 
miles square, and with the lake was named for Nathan 
Thompson. He and his son-in-law, Stephen Meeker, were 
the first settlers on that prairie. The prairie two miles 
east of Lewistown was about three miles long and from one 
to two miles wide, and it was called " Smith's Prairie " 
after Jeremiah Smith, who first settled there on a place that 
was afterwards owned by Col. Reuben Simms. It was one 
N/bf the most beautiful prairies mortal eyes ever beheld. It 
was covered with what was called blue-stemmed grass, a 
most excellent grass for hay. It grew from three to four 
feet high, and afforded hay enough for all the people of 
Lewistown and the settlers for many miles in all direc- 
tions. All the people had to do was to cut the hay and 
haul it home. At that time hay was cut with a scythe and 
raked together with a wooden hand-rake and pitchfork. 
Among my recollections was of riding a horse to haul hay 
on Smith's Prairie. I was a little codger of seven or eight 
years. We had to haul the hay together for stacking on 
what was called a brush sled. A small, bushy tree would 
be cut down and some of the limbs cut off so as to make 
a sort of flat surface ; and the hay would then be piled on 
top ; a horse would be hitched to the contrivance by a chain 
or rope, and so the hay would be hauled to the place where 
it was to be stacked. And that was what we called a 
" brush sled." Many a hot summer day I have rode the . 
old horse to haul hay on the Smith Prairie, where the 
Rices, W. W. Smith, Sampsl Campbell, J. Wertman, W. 
C. Harrison, the Lawses, Rileys and Chapins now live. 

One time the green-head flies attacked my old horse so 
bad that he ran away. My strength was not sufficient to 


hold him ; after he had run about half a mile I jumped off 
but did not jump far enough to miss the brush top that he 
was dragging, so I was caught under the brush sled, and 
was so badly bruised that I was laid up for repairs for sev- 
eral days. The old horse never stopped running until he 
got home. 

Smith's Prairie was celebrated for the numerous plum 
and crabapple orchards that grew round its borders. The 
large red and yellow plums grew there in such abundance 
that people would come from long distances and haul them 
away by the wagon-loads, and would preserve them with 
honey or maple sugar, which were the only sweetening we 
had in pioneer times. This' fruit made a good substitute 
for domestic fruit. Fulton county was blessed above 
other sections of the state in its great abundance of sugar- 
tree groves, which enabled people to make their own sugar. 

There is one other thing that will appear very remark- 
able. When the first settlers came to tlie county there 
was no one that appeared to have the remotest idea that 
there was such a thing as bituminous coal all about them 
in the earth, or that it had any use. The only people 
who had lived there were the Indians, and they never 
used it, and the people would as soon have thought of 
looking for gold or silver as looking for coal. It was 
about two years after the first settlement was made that 
coal was discovered. Meantime blacksmithing was one 
of the first things needed in the settlement, and a coal pit 
was built and charcoal burned and used until stone coal 
was discovered. The first coal found in the county was 
discovered by old Mr. Gardiner, whom I have referred to 
as having settled about ten miles south of Lewistown. 
He was out one day to look for stone to build a fireplace in 
his log house which he had just erected, and in digging 
for stone he found the coal bank which was situated at 
the foot of the bluff east of what is now known as Isabel 
church. Mr. Gardiner took a load of the coal to Lewis- 
town, and the people were highly delighted to learn that 
stone coal had been found in the countv. The next coal 


bank that was discovered was on Big Creek about where 
the Narrow Gauge crosses it three miles north of Lewis- 
town. Another bank was discovered three miles south- 
west of Lewistown. But the Gardiner bank supplied all 
the people south of Spoon river and at Havana with all 
the coal they wanted free of charge. All they had to do 
was to go and dig and then haul it home. I remember 
that when I was living in Havana of going with Mr. East- 
man Call to the Gardiner bank to dig coal. Mr. Call 
had just opened a blacksmith shop at Havana, which was 
before he opened a shop at Lewistown. It took but a 
short time to fill our wagon with coal. So I could have 
it to tell that I had dug coal out of the first coal bank that 
was ever opened in Fulton county. 

May I also be permitted modestly to recall the fact that 
I opened the first banking establishment in Fulton county. 
It was a branch, of a Jacksonville state bank, and was lo- 
cated in the town of Vermont in 1859, and w T as called the 
"Fulton Bank." The bank bills were issued and printed 
at Jacksonville, Illinois. I was appointed agent, and had 
the entire supervision and control of it. I can say that, 
no depositor or patron of that bank ever lost a dollar 
throuffh his dealings with it. So I have had the honor 


of digging coal out of the first bank ever discovered in 
Fulton county, and also of operating the first bank ever 
opened in Fulton county, and one occupation was as hon- 
orable as the other. 




Amongst the early pioneers of Fulton county there was 
one man whose name the historians of the county have 
failed to mention, who, to my mind, was one of the most 
enterprising men in the county, and for the first fifteen 


or twenty years of the county's settlement did more to de- 
velop and improve its resources than any other citizen. 

His name was John Coleman. He moved from New 
Jersey to Fulton county in 1827, coming the entire dis- 
tance in two and four-horse wagons. He bought a half- 
section (320 acres) of land a half mile north of the then 
hamlet of Canton. He was a large man, weighing some 
200 pounds, and his wife was a large woman. They had 
five sons and three daughters. They were all industrious, 
good workers, and in a few years they had in cultiva- 
tion the largest and best farm in Fulton county. They 
planted out a good orchard, and located on the farm a 
blacksmith shop and a horse-mill, and also a dairy for the 
manufacture of butter and cheese. While living in New 
Jersey Mr. Coleman had carried on the business of manu- 
facturing axes, and when he got his shop started he con- 
tinued the business of making axes, and they were prob- 
ably the first axes that were manufactured in the state. 
His axes were all stamped with the name " J. Coleman/' 
and were warranted that if an ax broke with proper usage 
he'd either mend it or replace it with a new one. He 
found a good sale for them. It was a good thing for the 
people that such a man had settled among them. He 
also brought with him a stock of dry goods, which were 
the first goods brought to the vicinity of Canton, and the 
next stock brought to the county after the Phelpses had 
opened a store at Lewistown. 

There were some little circumstances that happened 
about the time that the Coleman family came to the county 
that I will mention. They crossed the Illinois river at 
Havana and came up through Lewistown and camped near 
my father's house, Avho then lived north of Lewistown, 
where Major Walker now lives. Mr. Coleman came to 
the house to buy some corn and hay to feed their horses, 
and my father enquired where they came from, and he 
replied from New Jersey; and when my mother learned 
that they had come from New Jersey, she became inter- 
ested in them, as that was her native state, having been 


born and raised there. And she invited him to bring his 
wife and stay in the house over night. He remarked that 
they had not slept inside of a house since they left New 
Jersey; that they camped out and slept in their wagons. 
But they came over and spent the evening in talking over 
JSTew Jersey with my mother, and stayed all night. The 
next morning Mr. Coleman, in looking over my father's 
stock of cattle, took quite a liking to a large yoke of oxen 
that he had and proposed buying them. My father told 
him he could have them for $40. He said he would take 
them if he could pay for them in goods ; thathehadbrought 
along a stock of goods ; that they were packed away in his 
wagons, and that he did not want to open them until he 
got some buildings put up, which he thought would take 
him five or six weeks. So my father let him have the 
oxen, agreeing to trade them out after he got his store 
opened. So in about six or seven weeks my mother con- 
cluded that she would go up and trade out the price of the 
oxen, and as my father was engaged at the time, and could 
not go with her, he got a young man named Silas Chase, u 
son of old Esq. Stephen Chase who lived in Lewistown, to 
go with her and drive the horse and buggy. - They got along 
all right until they got to the Big Creek hill, which was 
about a half mile long. The timber all the way down the 
hill had stood densely thick, and a narroAV road had been 
cut out between the trees just wide enough for a wagon to 
pass. As there were but few people at that time to do 
road work, the trees had been cut to make the roadway 
and the stumps left standing in the road. My mother 
had taken my youngest brother, Pike, along with her. 
He was between two and three years old. Just as they 
started down the hill some of the harness broke and let the 
single-tree strike the legs of the horse, which frightened 
him terribly, and he ran with all the speed that was in him 
down the hill, my mother expecting every moment that 
the buggy would strike a stump or a tree and dash them 
all to the earth. When they had got about half way down 
the hill she gathered little Pike and lifted him over the hind 
end of the buggy, holding* him by one arm until his feet 


touched the ground, and then dropped him, the horse run- 
ning all the way down the hill as hard as he could tear. 
The young man could not hold him, but endeavored to 
guide him so as to miss the stumps and trees. When they 
got to the foot of the hill the horse plunged across Big 
Creek just below Ellis' mill dam. The water was about 
three feet deep, which checked the speed of the horse, and 
as he ascended the opposite bank the driver stopped him. 
Young Chase then got out, tied up the broken harness, and 
then turned around and drove across the creek to go and 
hunt up the boy. They met him coming toddling along 
down the hill, and all right. That was his first ride, and 
he .probably thought that that was the way the thing had' 
to be done. They took him in and crossed the creek again 
and started on their way to Coleman's. 

When they got there they found that he had put up two 
log houses, with a hall running between them, with a door 
opening from the hall into each of the houses. One of 
the houses was intended for a store and a bedroom, and 
the other for a dwelling. They had not had time to put 
up any counters and shelves, but had erected in the store- 
room three bedsteads, and the goods had been unloaded 
from the wagons and piled under the beds. They had 
one son called Jerry, who was lame, but could assist in 
the store ; and when my mother would call for an article 
of goods Jerry would be sent under the bed to hunt it up. 
She said that she thought that Jerry had been sent under 
the beds at least twenty times for goods by the time she 
got done trading. 

A short time after the Coleman family came to the 
county their oldest daughter, Joanna, was united in mar- 
riage to Thomas Wolf, and they settled about four miles 
east of Canton. They were all industrious, good farmers, 
and made number one good citizens. 

There were some things rather remarkable about John 
Coleman in regard to his financial operations. At that * 
time there were no such institutions in the county as 
banks or banking houses, and Mr. Coleman answered very 


well the need of such an institution, for if a man canic 
into the county with money that he did not want to use, 
Mr. Coleman would always take it of him if he could get 
it at five or six per cent interest ; and if another man came 
along that wanted to borrow some money, Mr. Coleman 
always accommodated him if he would pay ten to twelve 
per cent interest, and could give the requisite security. 
There was no doubt but that he saved many a man from 
having his land sold for taxes, or property sold for debt, 
by loaning him money. So he was certainly a benefactor 
to the community in which he lived. It was well known 
that he handled a good deal of money, and the great query 
was where he kept it,foratthattimetherewas no such thing 
in existence as an iron safe to keep money in. But it was 
told by some that had done business with him that he had 
made an iron box, as he was a blacksmith, and kept his 
money in that, and had it secreted ' under his bedroom 
floor; and when he wanted to have access to his money, 
all that he had to do was to pull up a puncheon of the floor 
and take out the iron box. 

Mr. Coleman was regarded by his neighbors as a very 
honorable and just man in all of his dealings, and his word 
was considered as good as his bond. 

But there came a time when he had to pass through one 
of the most tragical and awful ordeals that had ever hap- 
pened to him during all of his long and honorable and 
useful life. It was on the occasion of what was called 
"Westerfield's Defeat," a terrible Indian scare that took 
place at Canton during the Blackhawk War. The cause 
of the terrible Indian fight, and the stampede of the peo- 
ple that followed it, and the prominent part that Mr. Cole- 
man took in the affair, I will have to leave for my next 
letter. : i 






The pioneer hamlet of Canton passed through three 
dreadful ordeals of horror and excitement : 

The first was " Westerfield's Defeat " in March, 1832, 
a dreadful Indian scare. 

The second was the memorable cyclone of June 18, 1835, 
in which five Canton people were killed, many houses 
blown to pieces, and goods and furniture scattered over the 
prairies and forests even into Mason county. 

The third great event was the uprising of Canton's 
women against the saloons of that village in which men 
stood aghast while 100 valiant mothers, wives and sisters 
gutted the saloons and routed the whisky sellers. 

But I have promised to tell the story of John Coleman's 
connection with Westerfield's defeat, as I witnessed part 
of the events. There were many reasons in 1832 why the 
people of Fulton county should be in apprehension of a 
raid and general massacre by Black Hawk and his great 
army of Indians. This county for ages had been their 
home. Here were their favorite hunting grounds and 
loved sugar groves unsurpassed on the whole continent. 
Here were the graves of their sires. The Indians ven- 
erated their dead as white people do not. They had holy 
burial places at Duncan's, Walters' graveyard (where there 
are Indian graves to this day), at Mount Pleasant, and at 
hundreds of spots along the Spoon and Illinois rivers and 
all over the great woods of Fulton county. These Indians 
knew their lands had been wrongfully taken from them, 
and that the venerated graves of their dead had been ruth- 
lessly plowed and desecrated. They had only been driven 
out of the county about two years before. The great chief 
Black Hawk was at this time making his last heroic stand 


on Rock river. The memorable battle of " Stillman's De- 
feat " had just been fought with victory to the Indians, and 
among the dead were Bird Ellis, Tyus Childs, John Wal- 
ters and Joseph Farris of Fulton county. Many others 
were wounded. Among these was Major Samuel Hackel- 
ton, who lived on Spoon river, four miles south of Lewis- 
town, a few rods west of the spot where the C. B. & Q. 
bridge now spans that stream. He had a single combat in 
that fight with a chief, both armed with knives. The chief 
was killed, but Hackelton received serious wounds that dis- 
abled him for a long time. This battle was followed by 
dreadful Indian massacres in the Rock river country in 
which men and women were killed and scalped and little 
children chopped to pieces by the savages. 

Then between Canton and Rock river was 100 miles of 
wilderness. The Indians could come unheralded to the 
cabins of the settlers. All these things were known to the 
pioneers, and there was general apprehension and alarm 
in the spring of 1832. During March scouts were kept 
on the outskirts of the settlement to give warning if bands 
of Indians should appear. There was such gloom and 
alarm that many people loaded their household goods and 
moved over the Illinois river into Sangamon county, where 
the settlements were larger, and where they would be safe. 
Among these were the wife and younger members of the 
family of John Coleman. Meantime the people of Canton 
erected a fort or block-house to go into if necessary. 

One day Peter Westerfield, an old elder of the Presby- 
terian church of Canton, and a Frenchman, Charles 
Shane, went on an independent scouting expedition of 
their own. Some ten miles northwest of Canton they 
came upon a trail running through the grass which they 
were sure had been made by traveling Indians. In fact it 
was the path rnade the day before by a band of soldiers en 
route from Beardstown to join their company on Rock 
river. "Westerfield and Shane immediately hurried back 
to Canton to report their important and alarming dis- 
covery. As they neared Canton they heard shooting and 
shouts of a party of fool young hunters who had treed a lot 


of game. Of course they assumed that it was Indians 
massacreing white families who lived just there. They 
rode furiously into the hamlet of Canton, yelling wildly at 
every cabin they passed, " The Indians are on us ! The 
Indians are on us !" There was an immediate panic which 
no words will describe. People hastily gathered their 
wives and little ones and rushed either to Canton or to the 
brush, hoping to escape the scalping knives that seemed 
hanging over them. In Canton there was the wildest 
alarm. Mr. Western* eld had the confidence of the people. 
They believed his report implicitly. The more timid 
started a-foot and by every means of conveyance toward 
Havana and Sangamon county. Others gathered at the 
Canton fort to make the best defense they could. The 
story of heroism and helplessness from fright would fill 
many columns. 

John Coleman and his son Jerry were at their store and 
residence a half-mile north of Canton. They quickly 
started to join Mrs. Coleman and children at Havana, and 
as they passed along south through the Wilcoxen neighbor- 
hood they gave the alarm at every cabin they passed. 
These people in turn gave the alarm to their neighbors in 
what is now Buckheart, Liverpool and Waterford town- 
ships, as the road from Canton to Havana passed four or 
five miles east of Lewistown. 

Mr. Coleman and his son got to the ferry at Havana 
about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. My father was keeping 
the ferry at that time, and had two boats one large one 
for heavy teams, and a smaller one for horsemen and 
buggies. As a lad I was then steersman for the smaller 
boat, and was an eye-witness to the stirring events of that 
time in Havana. We heard the frantic yells of Mr. Cole- 
man through the dense timber half-a-mile away from the 
ferry. As he came nearer we could hear " Indians !" 
" Murder !" When they got to the boat Mr. Coleman told 
us of the Indian raid at Canton, of the probable horrid 
massacre of many families, and that the people were com- 
ing to the river in swarms, and that we had better have both 
boats ready at once, as we would have all we could do to 


ferry them over. He was entirely correct, for we had only 
landed them on the Havana side when we again heard 
hallooing on 'the west side of the river, and the people 
poured in upon us in such a flood that both boats were kept 
busy until 11 o'clock at night. The people came a-foot, on 
horse-back and in all imaginable pioneer conveyances. 
As many as three of four members of a family would 
come riding on one horse. There was but one block-house 
in Havana at that time, and many of these people went 
right on into the Springfield country. 

After the people had all been ferried over the river there 
were two men who determined to go back to the Canton 
country and see just what the situation was, and at Canton 
they learned that it was all a mistake, and that there had 
not been an Indian within maybe 100 miles of the settle- 
ment. So they hurried back to Havana to tell the good 
news, and the people with unbounded joy began at once to 
return to their homes. Mr. Coleman and his family had 
gone on to the Springfield country. But in a few days 
they returned and were again ferried over into the Fulton 
county country and returned to their Canton home and 
store in a much pleasanter frame of mind than when they 
so suddenly left. But Mr. Coleman was not feeling very 
amiable toward his neighbor, Mr. Westerfield. But there 
is no doubt that the old elder was just as honest and sincere 
in warning his neighbors to flee from Black Hawk's toma- 
hawk and scalping knife as when he was leading a prayer- 
meeting in the Canton Presbyterian church. 

But it was the greatest Indian scare that ever was known 
in that country. 




In all the seventy- five years of Fulton county's history 
there has never been a legal execution within its limits. 
In that time there have been scores of murders, many of 
them meriting the death penalty, but owing to the tricks of 
lawyers and the weakness of juries, these criminals have 
all escaped serious punishment. 

However, I beg permission in this letter to discuss some 
of the pioneer hangings that I have witnessed, although it 
is not a very pleasant subject to write about. But there 
are valuable lessons connected with these tragedies that 
will not be lost upon the readers of The Fulton Democrat. 

The first execution that I ever witnessed was that of a 
father and his son who were hung in Rushville, Illinois, in 
June, 1835. They were Elias McFadden and son David, 
who lived a mile south of Macomb. The sheriff came 
one day with an execution to levy on a crib of corn, and got 
a farmer named John Wilson, a quiet and much respected 
citizen of the neighborhood, to go with him with his horses 
and wagon to haul the corn away. When the two men ar- 
rived at McFadden's farm the older McFadden in great 
heat struck the horses with a stick and ordered them to 
leave the place. But they persisted in levying on the corn, 
when young McFadden fired from their cabin window and 
shot John Wilson so that he died within a couple of days. 
The McFaddens were arrested, but took a change of venue 
to Schuyler county. They were tried before Judge R. M. 
Young and prosecuted by Cyrus Walker, prosecuting at- 
torney for that district. The two men were convicted of 
murder and sentenced to be hung. Notice was given in the 
newspapers that the execution would be public, and hun- 
dreds of people from Fulton, McDonough and Schuyler 
counties went to see the double hanging. 

I was then living at Havana, and with another young 


man started to see the execution. On the road we came 
up with Hugh Lamaster, Nathan Beadles and Robert 
Gamble, all from Lewistown on their way to Rushville. 
Mr. Lamaster invited us to stop over night with their 
party at the home of one of his uncles, about three miles 
north of Rushville. Here we found a Christian and hos- 
pitable home in which no pay would be taken for our en- 
tertainment. The next day was the time of the execution, 
and we found 1000 to 1200 people gathered about the jail 
to see the prisoners as they were to march to their death. 
About twenty minutes before they were taken out, a couple 
of two-horse wagons were driven up to the jail, in each of 
which was a coffin in plain view. The prisoners were 
brought from the upper portion of the jail down a flight of 
stairs on the outside. They were both tall men, and were 
dressed in white shrouds, with white caps on their heads. 
They made a very ghostly appearance as they walked down 
the long stairs and climbed into the wagons and took their 
seats on the top of their coffins. 

1 should here remind the readers that, when a person 
was buried they were dressed in white cambric shrouds, 
similar to those the prisoners wore, which 'added so much 
to their horrible appearance. It was not until about in 
1845 that the people commenced to bury their friends in 
their wearing apparel. 

The distance from the jail to the place of execution was 
about a mile, and a long procession was formed, some in 
wagons, some on horseback, and others a-foot. One of 
the strangest things about this event was the fact that the 
wife and mother of the two men was in the procession to 
go and see husband and son executed. The place of ex- 
ecution was a hollow between two hills which afforded 
the people a good view of the hanging. It was estimated 
that from 2,000 to 3,000 people were present. The men 
both testified that they had both experienced religion while 
confined, in the jail and had received forgiveness for their 
awful crime. They talked for a few moments, then 
shook hands with some of their friends, then shook hands 


with each other, and then embraced and kissed each other, 
and then the white caps were drawn over their faces and 
the trap was sprung. As they were launched into eternity 
the old lady, the wife of one and mother of the other, was 
only a few rods away gazing intently upon the scene. As 
the drop fell with her beloved ones dangling at the end of 
the ropes, she gave one awful scream of anguish and ter- 
ror and then all was still. After they had hung about 
fifteen minutes they were taken down and laid in their 
coffins. It was all so tragical and dreadful to behold that 
it haunted my young mind by night and by day for many . 

X2. L> ' ; - 

The next JiangingJ:hat I had an opportunity o^ seeing 
was that of Peter McCue, who hung himself in his hatter 
shop in Lewistown in about 1843. I happened to be in 
town that day. (His shop was on the spot where the 
Walter Belless building is now going up.) I was riding 
clown Main street and observed a great crowd of men and 
boys peeping through the windows to see the body. I got 
off of my horse and took a peep at him myself. He had 
fastened a cord to a joist in his hatter shop, and was hang- 
ing with his toes just touching the floor. The only person 
that I can recall, now living, who was present was Maj. 
jSTewton Walker. I knew Peter McCue very well, while 
he was carrying on the hatter's trade, for about nine years. 
He was single, about thirty-five years of age, an Irishman 
by birth and a Catholic in religion. Pie learned his trade 
in the old country and was a very good and successful hat- 
ter. When he put an end to his life he was in the habit 
of going to St. Louis once a year. His friends used to vX 
say it was for the purpose of confessing his sins to a priest. 
The last time he started on this annual trip he went as 
far as Havana, and while waiting for a steamboat the Illi- 
nois river froze up and he had to return to Lewistown. 
His friends observed that he was melancholy after his re- 
turn home, but did not dream that it was a serious matter. 
It was inferred that his failure to see the priest had some- 
thing to do with his suicide. I remember that Peter one 


time made a fur hat for my father for $8.50, and it was 
well worth the money, for it was one of the most beautiful 
hats I have ever seen. My father had only worn it three 
or four times before his death, and my mother subse- 
quently gave it to the Rev. Dr. David Nelson, a Presby- 
terian minister, who was conducting a camp meeting near 
Canton, in the fall of 1838, when some 150 or 200 people 
were converted and joined the church. I have had oc- 
casion once before to speak of Dr. Nelson, and will only 
add that he was one of the early pioneer Presbyterian 
ministers who traveled through the country between the 
Mississippi and Illinois rivers and organized very many 
churches and Sabbath schools. 

A year after Peter McCue went to Lewistown I also 
went there to attend school, and for a long time boarded 
with Peter with the family of W. C. Osborn. So we 
were a good deal together. He was kind and friendly 
disposed, and I had come to like him very much, and was 
very sad indeed to see the poor fellow hanging dead in his 
own shop. 

Mr. W. C. Osborn, the man we boarded with, was the 
second lawyer that settled in Fulton county. Hugh R. 
Coulter was the first lawyer, and William Elliott the 
third. At that time Mr. Osborn owned the entire block 
west of the public square in Lewistown, and his dwelling 
house stood on the south side of the block. He was one 
of the well-known pioneers of that time. 



The/suicide of Edward Stapleford in the town of Ver- 
mont, about 1857, had some unusual features. He was a 
native of Maryland, had run a store in Beardstown, Illi- 
nois, and came to Vermont and opened a store in about 


1845. He was a shrewd business man and soon had 
worked up quite a trade. He had frequently engaged in 
speculations in pork and wheat and anything in which 
money could be made. Generally he was very successfuJ. 

In those time we had no railways, and the only way o 
shipping products to market was by steamboats on the Illi- 
nois river to St. Louis. We had no telegraphic communica- 
tions with the world, and but one mail a week ; so the most 
direct way of getting commercial news was from news- 
papers brought up on steamboats from St. Louis. During 
the progress of the Crimean war in 1854-'55 the price of 
pork and wheat went up to a very much higher price than 
it had been for many years, and many country merchants 
in Illinois were ripe for speculation, and Mr. Stapleford 
was one of the most ambitious merchants among them. 

One Saturday evening he succeeded in getting a news- 
paper direct from St. Louis, and it brought the news that 
wheat and pork had taken a wonderful rise in price. It 
was later news than any of the .other merchants had been 
able to get; so he started out early Sunday morning to 
scour the country and buy up all the wheat and pork he 
could find. He was afraid to wait until Monday lest the 
other merchants should also find out the good news and 
get ahead of him. 

I was also keeping store in Vermont at that time, and 
our stores were close together. The next morning he 
stopped at my store as he was passing. He was in his 
happiest mood. It was his trait to be happy when he was 
making money, but very gloomy if trade was against him. 

" Good morning," was Mr. Stapleford's salutation, 
" where do you suppose I Avas yesterday ?" 

I replied that I supposed he was with his family at 

He then told me of his having contracted with a good 
many farmers for their pork and wheat. Apparently it 
was a master stroke. 

Mr. Stapleford rushed business with all his might to 
get his produce en route to St. Louis before the river 


should freeze ; but, alas ! just as he was ready to load his 
pork and wheat on a steamboat cold weather set in, 
the river was frozen solid, and his stuff laid at the 
warehouse until the first of April. Then the war 
had ended, and produce had gone down one-halt 
in price. Of course he was in debt to the St. Louis 
merchants, and when his produce arrived they were on 
hand to secure the last dollar due them, and it left him 
almost nothing to pay the farmers who had sold him their 
produce on credit. 

When he came home it was noised abroad that he had 
lost big money on his venture. The farmers were in 
great need of their money to pay their taxes and other 
pressing debts. So these farmers gathered in crowds 
and demanded their money, sometimes in no very gentle 
tones. Mr. Stapleford was very proud and haughty, and 
these assaults annoyed and angered him tremendously. 

One day he went to dinner as usual and ate a hearty 
meal: nothing unusual appeared in his manner. But as 
he started out he saw five or six of his creditors lining the 
street and awaiting his appearance, presumably to renew 
their appeals for the money due them. He -turned round 
and started for his back door, remarking to his wife : 

" I guess I'll fool those fellows." 

He went out at the back door, Mrs. S. naturally suppos- 
ing he had gone to the store by a back way to avoid his 

But a half-hour later he was found hanging by a cord 
in his barn, and dead. He had '' fooled those fellows " by 
committing suicide ! The alarm was given, and great 
crowds visited the barn to see the grewsome spectacle. 

About eight months after Mr. Stapleford moved to 
Vermont he had married one of the handsomest and 
most amiable and popular young ladies of the town. 
She belonged to one of the best families of the 
place, and was connected with some of the best 
families of Cincinnati. He was fifteen years her 
senior, but the marriage was understood to have 
been a happy one. They had several children, and they 


were bright and beautiful. His death was such a shock 
to his devoted wife that she became insane. Her parents 
cared for her as long as they lived, and after their deat 11 
she was in the care of Cincinnati relatives. Forty long 
years this poor wife was a care to those who loved her. 

It is strange that any mortal should thus desert such a 
wife and family by the suicide route. 




In looking backward over the seventy-five years of my 
past life I am struck with wonder and amazement at the 
improvements in art, science and literature. The wonder 
is, what will the next seventy-five years develop ? 

I shall discuss the advancement made in two of the pro- 
fessions, medicine and teaching. In this paper I will de- 
scribe the pioneer doctor. 

In early times in Fulton county there was no such thing 
as a drug store. The merchants kept a supply of medi- 
cines in stock among their dry goods and groceries. The 
doctors never gave prescriptions, but carried their medi- 
cines around in medicine bags and dosed it out to their 

When a doctor was called to see a patient the first thing 
he did was to examine his tongue, then feel of the pulse at 
the wrist; then he would have the sick one set up in a 
chair to be bled. The sleeve of one arm would be rolled 
up to the shoulder, and the arm extended out to full length, 
and the hand grasped around the handle of a broom-stick 
to hold the arm steady and in proper position. A cord 
would then be tied tightly around the arm half way be- 
tween the eldow and shoulder, and then the patient was 
stabbed in a blood vessel of the arm. At first a thumb- 
lance was used, but the spring-lance came in as a great im- 


provement. They usually took from, a pint to a quart of 
blood, dependent upon the age and size of the sick one. 
After the bleeding the patient would be given an emetic, 
and after he had been thoroughly vomited he would be 
given a dose of calomel and jalop, and then a walloping 
dose of castor oil. After all those horrors the patient 
would be taken through a course of blistering. A blister 
6x10 inches would be placed upon the breast, with smaller 
ones on the arms and legs ; if the patient was very sick a 
portion of the hair would be shaved off the head and one of 
those horrible blisters applied to the head. 

The doctors made their own blister-plasters. They car- 
ried in their medicine bags a package of Spanish flies, a 
small cake of tallow and some pieces of canvas. The tal- 
low would be carefully spread over the canvas, the Spanish 
flies sprinkled over it and pulverized with a caseknife. 
These flies were large and yellow, resembling yellow wasps. 
The plasters would be left on from six to eight hours, caus- 
ing terrible pain. They would then be removed and the 
blister dressed with cabbage leaves, or a bit of tallowed 
muslin. Sometimes the blisters would be drawn so deep 
that it would be two weeks before they -would healj and 
during the time a white substance would appear in the 
wound which was called "proud flesh," and it was removed 
by sprinkling over it powdered roasted alum, this also caus- 
ing great agony. 

One marvelous thing the common people could not un- 
derstand was that after the patient had gone through with 
all this bleeding, vomiting, purging and blistering, and been 
reduced to the very last extremity, he was not allowed by 
the doctor to take any nourishing food nothing better 
than a little thin gruel, a little chicken broth, or a little 
toast and tea ; and while the poor creature, tortured with a 
burning thirst, might be screaming for water, he was not 
allowed to have one cool drop, but might have a little warm 
tea or slippery-elm tea water. 

Tf under this treatment the patient was fortunate enough 
to get well, the doctor would claim for himself a vast 
amount of credit for his skill that brought him from the 


verge of the grave; but if the poor creature diedj it was 
laid to the decree of Providence. 

In the early days we had no dentists, and the regular 
doctors did all the tooth-pulling. They carried an instru- 
ment called a tooth-drawer, or "pullikens," shaded like a 
gimlet, but with a loose hook that was caught around the 
tooth, and then a twist of the handle brought out the tooth 
sometimes. The price for pulling a tooth was 25 cents. 

It was three and a half years after the county was first 
settled by white people before we had a regular doctor. 
But we found here an Indian doctor who was practicing in 
Indian families, of whom I will have more to say. 

We also found residing near Waterf ord Dr. W. T. Davi- 
son, but he was a hermit and refused to practice or have 
anything to do with white people; and when they com- 
menced to settle around him he loaded his goods into a 
canoe and left the county. 

The readers will remember Mrs. Jacob Niman, who 
once mounted a fleet horse and started for Springfield, 
1821. She followed midwifery, and usually with good 
success. For three years she was present at about all the 
births in Lewistown and vicinity. But when she was 
called to attend my aunt, Mrs. Hugh R. Coulter, the child 
did well, but the mother did not do well, and Mrs. 1SR- 
inan did not appear to know how to treat her. The Indian 
doctor was called in consultation, but he told Mr. Coulter 
his wife would die and he did not wish to prescribe for 
fear he would be blamed ; but intimated that if he had 
been called at first all would have been well. 

Then came a ride for life. My Uncle Thomas Ross at 
once mounted a fieet horse and started for Springfield, 
fifty-eight miles distant, for the doctor nearest to Lewis- 
town. He never stopped his wild ride for life, through 
116 miles of wild pioneer woods, until he had the doctor 
at her bedside. The doctor stayed with her twenty-four 
hours, and then went home. He was eminent in his pro- 
fession, but could not save her life. She died in two days. 
Her babe grew to be a fine boy. Mr. Coulter subsequently 


married a Miss Bushnell, who was killed by a runaway 
team at Galena, 111. 

My Aunt Maria Coulter was the first person buried in 
the present cemetery north of Lewistown. All those who 
had previously died in the village and vicinity were buried 
in the first graveyard in East Lewistown (the site of the 
little East Primary schoolhouse). Two of the pall-bearers 
who attended my aunt's funeral were the late Myron 
Phelps and John Johnson, then proprietor of Waterford. 
Some fifteen persons had been buried in the little east 
cemetery. Some of the bodies were moved to the present 
cemetery, and others remain there to this day. 

The Indian doctor I have referred to practiced medicine 
in a different manner from white doctors. He was one 
of the first Indians we got acquainted with in 1821. He 
was about fifty years old, and could speak a little English. 
He was very friendly with the white people and soon 
gained their confidence and friendship. The Indians re- 
garded him as a very great man and had all confidence in 
him as a doctor. He lived at a small Indian village on 
the bank of Big Creek, three miles northwest of Lewis- 
town, near the site of Milton. He carried his medicines 
in a leathern pouch by his side, and rode a fine-looking 
black pony. He practiced among the Indian families, 
and often attended the whites, generally giving good satis- 
faction. His medicines consisted of herbs, barks, root ex- 
tracts and various oils from beasts, birds and reptiles. 
Rattlesnake oil was a favorite remedy. Another treat- 
ment was to sweat or steam his patient. He would dig a 
hole 10x10 inches square in a wigwam, get it aglow with 
live coals, and over this he would place his patient covered 
with blankets until there was profuse perspiration; in 
some cases he used steam from a vessel over the coals. 
The Indian doctor was often in Lewistown, and sometimes 
went even to Havana to see the sick. Once while we lived 
at Havana I had taken a serious cold, and father called 
this Indian doctor, who happened to be there. He gave 
me some fine powdered substance to snuff up my nose ; it 
set me to sneezing so dreadfully that my parents were 


alarmed, but the doctor assured them that I was in no 
danger. The sneezing soon ceased. He next took some 
herbs and barks from his pouch, made a poultice of them, 
bound it about my forehead, and next day I was all right. 




A history of how the public schools were conducted in 
the early settlement of Fulton county may be interesting 
to some of the readers of The Democrat ; so I will give a 
little of my experience and observation in regard to some 
of them. 

For several years after the first settlement of the county 
there were no public school funds to pay the teachers, 
and when a school was needed in a town or neighborhood 
the teacher would go around amongst the patrons of the 
school with a subscription paper to see how many scholars 
could be obtained, and if enough could be obtained to jus- 
tify him in teaching, he Avould take the school. The term 
that the schools were taught was three months, and the tui- 
tion was from $1.50 to $2.00 per quarter; and if the pa- 
trons were satisfied with the teacher they would engage 
him for another term, but not for more than three months 
at a time. The branches taught were reading, spelling, 
writing, arithmetic, geography and grammar. The school 
would be graded into first, second and third classes. 

In opening the school in the morning the first class was 
required to read a chapter in the New Testament, and, if 
the chapter was a short one, they would read two chapters, 
each scholar reading one verse. The teacher would usually 
consume about half an hour each forenoon in making and 
repairing pens and setting copies for those that were learn- 
ing to write. At that time there was no such thing in that 


part of the country as gold or steel pens, and all the pens 
used for writing were made from quills plucked from the 
wings of a turkey or a goose. The first steel pens intro- 
duced was about the year 1831. I remember that in 1831 
my father went to St. Louis and laid in a stock of goods, 
and among his purchases were a half dozen cards of steel 
pens. They came fastened on cards, a dozen on a card. 
That was as many as any merchant thought it prudent to 
buy at one time. The use of them was strongly disap- 
proved of by the teachers. They would tell the scholars 
that they would never become good writers if they learned 
to write with a steel pen. The price they sold at when 
they first came in use was 12^ cents a pen. The steel 
pens at first used were much coarser and heavier than the 
pens now used, and a very great improvement has been 
made in them since they first came in use. 

It was the custom in those times that when a teacher 
took a school to make a statement to his scholars of the 
rules and regulations by which the school was to be gov- 
erned ; and if any of the scholars disobeyed those orders 
and regulations they were to be punished, whether male 
or female ; and it made no difference how old, or how 
young, or how large, or how small, they would all come 
under the same rule ; and their rules were like the laws of 
the Medes and Persians were unalterable. They had 
two modes of punishment. One was to be whipped, and 
the other to stand upon a bench to be gazed at by the whole 
school until the teacher ordered them to come down. 

I will relate some of the circumstances at a time when 
the school was taught in the old log court house in Lewis- 
town. The schoolteacher was an old Englishman by the 
name of John Elliott. He had only been a short time 
from the old country when he came to Lewistown and took 
the school. He was low in stature, but very fleshy and cor- 
pulent, and a fair specimen of a genuine " John Bull." 
One of the rules of his school was that if any scholar 
should absent himself from school for fifteen minutes after 
school was taken up he was to be punished, unless a satis- 
factory excuse could be given. It was in the fall of the 


year, and at a time when the woods around Lewistown 
were full of nuts, wild fruit and grapes. So one day, dur- 
ing the noon spell, a dozen or fifteen of us took a stroll 
through the woods on the hunt of nuts and wild fruit. But 
it so happened that we ventured so far away that we did 
not get back until school had been taken up about half an 
hour. So, having broken one of the rules of the school, we 
all had to be punished. The boys were called up, one at a 
time, and each received four or five strokes across the back 
with a whip. There were three young ladies that were at- 
tending school who were in the company of the transgres- 
sors. Their ages ran from sixteen to eighteen, and thfc 
punishment meted out to them was that they were to go up 
into the judge's stand and climb up and stand upon the 
top of the judge's writing table. The young ladies were 
Miss Sally Laughton, daughter to John Laughton ; Miss 
^ancy Johnson, daughter to William Johnson, who was 
one of the county commissioners, and Miss Susan Went- 
worth, daughter to Elijah Went worth. They were amongst 
the most prominent families of the town. The young 
ladies were all quite tall, and as they stood in a row their 
heads extended up to the upper floor of the court house, 
and, as the floor had been laid with loose puncheons, the 
young ladies amused the scholars by raising up the ends 
of the puncheons on the top of their heads. This so 
amused one of the small boys that he laughed loud enough 
to be heard by the teacher, who called him up to punish 
him for his rudeness, when he excused himself by telling 
the teacher that he could not help laughing, for Sally 
Laughton kept tucking her head up in the loft. After 
they had stood about twenty minutes on their perch they 
were ordered to come down and to take their seats. They 
knew very well that it would not have done any good to 
have resisted the order of the schoolteacher, for if they 
had, they would have been whipped the same as the boys 
had been. Some of the smaller sized girls that Avere 
among the truants were let off by having to stand for a 
short time up on a bench. The teacher would have re- 
garded himself as being recreant in his duty if he had let 


anyone escape punishment that had violated the rules of 
his school. 

The first schoolhouse that was ever built in Lewistown 
or in Fulton county was built on a lot that stood imme- 
diately west of the public square. It was built of round 
logs 14x16 feet in size and covered with clapboards held 
down with heavy weight poles. The cracks in the walls 
were chinked and filled in with mud. The floors were laid 
down loose with hewed puncheons. The door was made 
of rough boards and hung on wooden hinges with wooden 
door-latch. There were two windows large enough for a 
sash containing six 8x10 glass, but as glass could not be 
obtained at that time, oiled paper was substituted for glass. 
A chimney was made of lath and made with a huge fire- 
place in one end of the house, large enough to contain a 
log two feet in diameter. The seats were made from a 
section of a log hewed on one side and wooden pins driven 
in auger holes for bench legs with no backs to rest the 
weary body against. The school was kept in this log 
schoolhouse some two years and until the log court house 
was built; the school was then transferred to the court 
house and a great day was manifested by teachers and 
scholars when the change was made. It was the custom 
in those times for the teacher to retain the scholars in 
school from eight to nine hours a day, and when I look 
back and think about how us poor urchins had to sit in 
those hard and rough benches during those long and weary 
hours with nothing to rest our tired backs against, I can- 
not help thinking that it was a most terrible cruel treat- 




Los ANGELES, CAL., April 12. 

Editor Democrat: ISTot long since I wrote to Mr. H. 
L. Ross of Oakland to thank him for the noble sketches 
he is writing for The Democrat, which have been so 
highly appreciated by all old residents of Illinois who 
have seen them. In my letter I mentioned the fact that 
I had attended his father's funeral (the late O. M. Ross) ; 
that Rev. Robt. Stewart of Canton came to my father's 
house in Lewistown on his way to attend Mr. Ross' funeral 
in Havana ; that it was in mid-winter and very cold ; 
that father hitched his horses to a box-sled, and Rev. 
Stewart, father, mother and myself, with sufficient buf- 
falo robes, were soon ready for the long, cold ride, and that 
we crossed the Illinois river on the ice. I was then a boy 
of eight or nine. In his reply Mr. Ross has said many 
things of great interest to my relatives, and I think they 
will interest many pioneers. So I have his consent to 
print his letter. Few men have lived in Fulton county 
who have exerted a greater influence for good than H. L. 



OAKLAND, CAT,., March 20. 
MR. JOHN W. PROCTOR, Los Angeles, Cal. 

My Dear Old Friend: I was very glad to get your good 
letter. It carried my mind back to the days of my youth. I 
very well remember that your father and mother attended 
the funeral of my father in 1837. Rev. Robt. Stewart of 
Canton came with them and preached the funeral sermon. 
The Illinois river had frozen over a few days before, and 
was not thought to be very safe. So your father walked 
across on the ice and got a spike pole out of the ferry 


boat and tried the ice, and then drove the horses and 
sleigh across the river, while he walked beside the sleigh, 
and Mr. Stewart and your mother walked a few rods 
behind the sleigh. I was attending college at Jackson- 
ville at the time father died, but came home for the 
funeral. My brother Lewis was at Vandalia, and did 
not get home until five days after the funeral. Your 
father and mother were a very great help to us on that 

Your father, as well as mine, was engaged in merchan- 
dizing. They went to St. Louis together one time to 
buy goods. As they were going from the hotel to take the 
steamboat, my father asked Mr. Proctor if he had insured 
his goods, and he said he had not ; that he had hardly 
thought it worth while to do so. My father said he had 
insured his, and thought it the best policy. So Mr. Proc- 
tor turned about and went with my father to the insurance 
office and insured his goods. The boat started out that 
night, and had only gone sixteen miles up the river when 
she struck a snag and sunk to within six feet of the up- 
per deck. The passengers all escaped. The next day 
you father and mine returned to St. Louis to draw their 
insurance money, which was promptly paid, and then the 
oods belonged to the insurance company. The officers 
of the insurance company told them they could have half 
of the goods they would save from the wreck. So they 
hired a couple of small keel-boats at St. Louis and a few 
men and went to the sunken boat where they worked 
about three weeks and recovered several thousand dollars' 
worth of goods. After an equal division of the goods and 
paying all expenses, they found that they had cleared 
above $1200 each from the enterprise, not a very bad in- 
vestment after all. 

While I lived in the village of Vermont in 1846 we 
organized a Presbyterian church with twelve members, 
and held our meetings in a log school house. We were 
anxious to buy a lot and build a better church ; but we 
were all very poor, having no money to pay for the lot. 
About that time vour father and mother came down on a 


visit to Mr. Heizer and family. Your father saw our 
condition, and very generously gave us $100 to buy the 
lot. Daniel Baughman, who lived ten miles north of 
Vermont, had a nice corner lot, which I bought of him 
for $65 for the church. When I left Vermont the church 
numbered 110 members, and their building still stands 
on the lot paid for by your honored father, William Proc- 

The first money I ever earned for myself was paid me 
by your father. My father had a large dog that got to 
killing sheep, and so he had him killed. So I concluded 
that I would skin the dog and sell the hide. I had 
watched my father and his men when they skinned cat- 
tle, and little as I was I thought I could skin the dog. So 
I got my sister Harriet to hold the legs while I did the 
skinning. So when we got him skinned I got a stick, 
and we spread the hide across it, I taking hold of one 
end and my sister the other, and started for the tanyard. 
We then lived where Major Newton Walker now lives, 
and it was about half a mile to your father's tanyard [the 
present site of Mr. ITarben's vegetable garden in Lewis- 
town^-Ed.], so we trudged along, having to stop every 
few yards to rest, being such little tots. The dog skin was 
pretty heavy, as I had left considerable of the dog with the 
hide ; but we finally got to the tanyard with it, and I asked 
your father how much he would give for it. He said as it 
was a large skin, and as we had worked so hard to bring 
it to him, he would give us a" dollar, which was twenty- 
five cents above the price. So he paid me a dollar, and 
I divided it with my little sister, and I do not suppose 
that ever a little boy and girl went home feeling happier 
than we did. 

When your father commenced the tanning business in 
Lewistown he took in two apprentices, Benjamin Scovil 
and John Nichols, who lived with him four years. Then 
John Nichols went to Galena, and from there to Los 
Angeles, Cal. I saw him there seventeen years ago. He 
was keeping a real estate office. He told me that he built 
the first frame house in Los Angeles ; that he was its first 


mayor, and had held the office three terms. He at one time 
owned a very valuable ranch two or three miles from the 
city. He was an uncle to Judge H. L. Bryant's wife. 
He had a brother William, who lived five miles south of 
Canton on the Lewistown road. We often talked about 
the Lewistown people. We went to school together in 
the old log school house in Lewistown. He told me that 
he owed everything that was good about him to the moral 
and religious training he received from your father and 
mother. I thought if he was still living in Los Angeles 
you would like to look him up. 

Yours truly, 

H. L. Ross. 

Hbrabam lincoln. 



Editor of The Fulton Democrat: In earlier years I was 
intimately acquainted with Abraham Lincoln and Peter 
Cartwright, two of the old pioneers of Illinois, who lived in 
Sangamon County at the same time, and but a few miles 
apart, who took prominent part in molding the destiny 
and giving permanent prosperity to the state and nation. 
They have passed over the river and gone to their reward 
some thirty years ago, but for generations will their noble 
deeds and sacrifices be remembered and their sacred mem- 
ory cherished deep down in the hearts of a grateful coun- 
try and a generous people. There are probably but few 
men now living that knew Mr. Lincoln better than I did in 
the days of his obscurity, when he -was trying to make an 
honest living by honest days' work. I believe that I knew 
about every occupation that he was engaged in from the 
time he came to New Salem until he was elected to Con- 
gress. Now I find, in reading historical sketches in the 
papers and magazines of the early life of Lincoln, also in 
some of his histories, a good many mistakes. Some of my 
old friends, and also my children and grandchildren, often 
ask me what I knew about Abraham Lincoln and Peter 
Cartwright, and I have decided to give the Fulton Demo- 
crat a few short historical sketches of what I knew about 
them in the old pioneer times. What I shall say shall be 
from my own personal knowledge and from what I know to 
be authentic and true; and I will endeavor to point out 
some of the errors and mistakes that I have alluded to. 

Before I commence the narrative of the early life of Mr. 



Lincoln it is likely some of the readers of the Democrat 
would like to know how I happened to become so well ac- 
quainted with such a distinguished person as Mr. Lincoln ; 
and so I will have to make some explanation, and in doing 
so will have to state some circumstances connected with my 
own early life and occupations. 

My father, Ossian M. Ross, settled in Havana in 1828. 
He kept the ferry across the Illinois river, built and kept 
the Havana Hotel, carried on a large farm, was a merchant 
and the postmaster, and in addition to those things he had 
the mail route from Springfield to Lewistown. The mail 
had to be carried twice a week on horseback, and I chose, 
rather than to work on the farm or in the store, to carry the 
mail. The postoffices between Lewistown and Springfield 
were Havana, New Salem, Athens and Sangamontown. 
Mr. Lincoln was postmaster at New Salem, where the mail 
had to be changed four times a week, and I put up at the 
log tavern where Mr. Lincoln boarded, and we partook of 
the cornbread, bacon and eggs, which were our common 
fare, at the same table. I would often assist Mr. Lincoln 
in his store and in sorting over the mail, and he would often 
send packages by me to his customers along the road ; so 
my business required me to be with him a part of four days 
in every week. After he commenced the practice of law I 
got. him to fix up my title papers to some land that came to 
me from my father's estate ; and I have often met him 
when he was attending the circuit court in Mason county. 
The first court held in that county was at Havana ; I was 
keeping the Havana Hotel at that time. There was no 
court house in the county, and the bar room of the hotel 
was used for a court room and some of my bed rooms for 
jury rooms. I remember Mr. Lincoln being engaged by 
Prank Low of Havana to prosecute Mr. Coon for slander. 
Mr. Lincoln got a judgment against Coon in favor of Low 
for some $500. 

So the readers of The Democrat will see that I had a 
pretty good opportunity to learn something about Mr. 
Lincoln. I was also well acquainted with William H. 
Herndon, who was his law partner for twenty years, and 
who after his death wrote a history of his life. Mr. Hern- 



don's father kept the Herndon Hotel in Springfield, and 
when I carried the mail I had to stop there two nights in 
each week. William and myself being near the same age 
(I being one year the older), we were a great deal together 
whenever I was in Springfield; we were also both in the 
Jacksonville college at the same time, in the same classes, 
and were roommates ; and so I had a pretty good opportun- 
ity to know something about him. As I proceed with the 
narrative of what I know of the early life of Mr. Lincoln, 
I may also state what I know of the early life of Herndon, 
and point out some of the mistakes he has made in his 
" Historv of Lincoln." 



The first time I ever saw or heard of Abraham Lincoln 
was in 1832. I had stopped over night at Jack Arm- 
strong's, who lived on a farm five miles northwest of New 
Salem. I there saw a young man whom I had never met be- 
fore, and asked him who he was, and he said his name was 
Abe Lincoln, and that he was working for his father. He 
was tall and slender, and was dressed in common home- 
made jeans, about the same kind of goods that the 
majority of the young men wore at that time about the 
same as I wore myself. The next time I saw Lincoln, to 
become acquainted with him, was at the log tavern at New 
Salem, kept by James Rutledge. I was carrying the mail 
from Lewistown to Springfield, and put up with the Rut- 
ledge tavern where Mr. Lincoln was boarding. He was 
at that time a clerk in the store of Samuel Hill, a mer- 
chant of New Salem. Mr. Lincoln had been to New Or- 
leans with a flat-boat load of produce, and Mr. Hill had 
sent by him 100 barrels of flour that was ground at the 
water mill at New Salem. Mr. Lincoln sold the flour at 


a good price, and was so prompt in paying the money, 
and gave such good satisfaction, that on his return Mr. 
Hill made him a clerk in his store. Mr. Hill had the 
largest stock of goods in ISTew Salem, and also kept the 
postoffice. Mr. Lincoln, I observed, was always very at- 
tentive t-o business, and was kind and obliging to the cus- 
tomers of the store, always having pleasant things to say 
to them ; and they had so much confidence in his honesty 
that they preferred to trade with him rather than with Mr. 
Hill or the other clerks. I noticed that this was particu- 
larly true of the women customers ; they would often say 
that they liked to trade with Mr. Lincoln, for they believed 
that he was honest and would tell them the truth about the 

I went into the store one day to buy a pair of buckskin 
gloves and asked him if he had a pair that would fit me. 
He threw a pair on the counter. "There is a pair of dog- 
skin gloves that I think will fit you, and you can have them 
for seventy-five cents." When he called them dogskin 
gloves I was surprised, as I had never heard of such a thing 
before. At that time no factory-made gloves had ever 
been brought into the country, and all the gloves and mit- 
tens that were worn were made by hand and by the women 
of the neighborhood, and were made from tanned deer 
skins, and the Indians usually did the tanning. A large 
buckskin, Indian dressed, could be bought at that time for 
from fifty to seventy-five cents. So I said to Mr. Lincoln, 
"How do you know they are dogskin gloves ?" I believe 
that he thought my question was a little impudent, and 
it rasped him somewhat that I had the audacity to question 
his word. "Well, sir," said he, "I will tell you how I 
know they are dogskin gloves. Jack Clery's dog killed 
Tom Watkin's sheep, and Tom Watkin's boy killed the 
dog, and old John Mounts tanned the dogskin, and Sally 
Spears made the gloves, and that is how I know they are 
dogskin gloves." So I asked no more questions about the 
gloves, but paid the six bits and took them ; and I can truly 
say that I have worn buckskin and dogskin gloves from time 
to time for sixty years since then, and have never found 


a pair that did me the service that those did I got of Mr. 

I have understood that Mr. Lincoln got $20 a month 
for clerking in Mr. Hill's store, which was considered 
good wages at that time, although he had to pay $2 a week 
for his board. 

While Mr. Lincoln was clerking in the store for $20 a 
month Mr. Hill gave him the privilege of going out to 
work in the time of harvest, where he could earn from $1 
to $1.25 a day and his board; and when the harvest was 
over he would take him back in the store again. 

In the fall of 1835 my brother Lewis was a student in 
the Jacksonville college. I had to take him back to col- 
lege after the vacation, and there met many of the boys 
who had returned after their two months' rest. Among 
these was Richard Yates, afterwards the great "war gov- 
ernor" of Illinois. Most of these boys had been at work 
during the vacation -most of them on their father's farm, 
while some of them had taught school, and others clerked 
in the stores. Among them was a young man named 
William Green, who said he had been at home helping his 
father with the harvest. While there a young man named 
Abe Lincoln had come out from New Salem to help with 
the harvest. He said Lincoln could pitch more hay than 
any man his father had. When Lincoln found out that 
young Green had been to college he asked him if he had 
brought his books home with him. He said he had never 
had the advantage of an education, and said he would like 
to study grammar and arithmetic, and asked if Green 
would assist him, and he told him that he would. Mr. 
Lincoln said that the county surveyor at Springfield, Mr. 
Calhoun, had been talking of appointing him deputy sur- 
veyor if he would qualify himself for the place. He was 
very anxious to get the position, as there was a good deal 
of surveying to be done around New Salem. So Lincoln 
would get up early in the morning and feed the horses, 
and then with the help of Green would go at the grammar 
and arithmetic until breakfast was ready. At night they 
would again resume their studies. After Lincoln re- 


turned to the store in New Salem, Green would take his 
books when he went to town, and they would study to- 
gether under the shade of the trees. Green said he never 
saw another person who could learn as fast as Lincoln did. 
It is a fact that Mr. Lincoln did qualify himself and was 
appointed deputy surveyor; and he was one of the best 
surveyors they ever had in that part of the country. 

This William Green in 1875 moved to Warren county, 
Illinois, some five miles from Avon, and for several years 
was president of the Avon Agricultural Society. Not 
long after I visited him, and he told me that he had gone 
to Washington to see Lincoln while he was president. He 
said Lincoln was glad to see him, throwing his arms about 
his neck and showing him many marks of kindness while 
he remained in the city. Before he came away Mr. Lin- 
coln introduced him to some of his cabinet officers, telling 
them that he was the young man who taught him grammar 
and arithmetic in his father's barn. 

I have not heard from Mr. Green in eighteen years ; but 
if he is still living he can tell more of the early life of 
Abraham Lincoln than can be found in any of the papers, 
magazines or histories. 




The town of New Salem, where I became acquainted 
with Lincoln, was laid out in 1829 by John Cameron and 
George Rutledge on a high piece of ground overlooking the 
Sangamon river, and was surrounded by fine farming coun- 
try. It was twenty miles northwest of Springfield ; had 
some fifty houses, about one-third frame and the balance 
log; there were four stores, postofnce, log tavern, a black- 
smith and wagon maker's shop, a carding machine, and a 
water mill on the Sangamon river. 


A few months after Mr. Lincoln took the postoffice, find- 
ing that the revenue would not support him, he took a 
young man named William Berry in partnership with 
him and opened a general country store. The stock con- 
sisted chiefly of groceries, but they also had many notions, 
hats, mittens, etc. The entire stock could not have been 
worth over $1200. The charge has been made that Mr. 
Lincoln took out a license and kept a saloon in the store. 
Indeed, Judge Douglas in his debate with Lincoln occa- 
sionally charged Lincoln that he had been engaged in the 
saloon business. Lincoln's reply was that he had never 
kept a saloon, and that he had never sold a glass of liquor 
over a counter ; but that if he ever had run a saloon, and 
Douglas had lived in that neighborhood, he would un- 
doubtedly have been his best customer. 

I am sure that no liquor was sold by the drink in their 
store while Mr. Lincoln had an interest in it. I- had occa- 
sion to be in the store very often while I was carrying the 
mail, and had a much better opportunity to know what was 
going on there than did William H. Herndon, who wrote 
a story of Lincoln's life, but who lived twenty miles away 
from ^ew Salem. I think that it is likely they did sell 
whisky by the quart and gallon, as was done in -every ^ 
pioneer store. Indeed, whisky was as common an article 
of barter as was coffee, sugar or tea. The pioneers were 
subject to much sickness, caused by malarial conditions 
fever and ague, typhoid fever, etc. A favorite remedy was 
bitters made from barks and roots and whisky. At that 
time the co'untry was full of poisonous snakes, and it was 
a common thing for people to be bitten. The one remedy 
in those days was to fill up the patient with whisky. The 
whisky used at that time was the pure juice of the corn or 
rye, and could be bought at fifty cents a gallon. We had 
none of that vile, poisonous stuff that is now made from 
drugs and kept for sale in the saloons. 

In all my acquaintance with Mr. Lincoln I never knew : 
him to take a drink of liquor of any kind, nor use tobacco 
in any form, or ever to use profane language. His earliest 
biographer, W. II. Herndon, claimed that Lincoln did 


drink whisky and swear. It is claimed that the swearing 
was done in New Orleans, where he had gone with a flat 
boat full of produce, and where he attended an auction sale 
of negroes and saw 7 a young woman two-thirds white being 
sold. * It was then that Mr. Lincoln expressed his indigna- 
tion by an oath. The time when it was claimed that he 
drank liquor was when he was said to have lifted a barrel 
of whiskv to his lips and drank out of the bung hole. I 

v -- O 

am inclined to believe that my old college chum and room- 
mate, W. H. Herndon, drew largely on his imagination 
when he told these stories. 

At this time Mr. Lincoln boarded at the Rutledge tavern, 
at which I also put up, as often as I went to New Salem. 
It was a hewed log house, two stories high, with four rooms 
above and four below. It had two chimneys with large 
fireplaces, and not a stove in the house. The proprietor 
was James Rutledge, a man of more than ordinary ability, 
and, with his wife, remarkably kind and hospitable. They 
had a large family of eight or nine children, and among 
them was their daughter Anne, celebrated in song and story 
as Lincoln's sweetheart. She was two or three years 
younger than Lincoln, of about medium size, weighing 
some 125 pounds. She was very handsome and attractive, 
as well as industrious and sweet-spirited. I seldom saw 
her when she was not engaged in some occupation knit- 
ting, sewing, waiting on table, etc. I think she did the 
sewing for the entire family. Lincoln was boarding at the 
tavern and fell deeply in love with Anne, and she was no 
less in love with him. They were engaged to be married, 
but they had been putting off the wedding for a while, as he 
wanted to accumulate a little more property and she wanted 
to go longer to school. 

Before the time came when they were to be married. 
Miss Anne was taken down with typhoid fever and lay 
desperately ill four weeks. Lincoln was an anxious and 
constant watcher at her bedside. The sickness ended in 
her death, and young Lincoln was heartbroken and pros- 
trated. The histories have not exaggerated his pitiful 
grief. For many days he was not able to attend to busi- 


ness. I believe his very soul was wrapped up in that lovely 
girl. It was his first love the holiest thing in life the 
love that cannot die. The deepest gloom and melancholy 
settled over his mind. He would often say to his friends : 
" My heart is buried in the grave with that dear girl." He 
would often go and sit by her grave and read a little pocket 
Testament he carried with him. What did he read ? I 
know not ; but I'll warrant you that it was " Let not your 
hearts be troubled/' or John's vision on Patmos with Anne 
among the white-robed throng in the land where sickness 
and death are unknown. One stormy winter's night he 
was at a friend's house, and as the sleet and rain came down 
on the roof he sat with bowed head and the tears trickled 
down his face. His friends begged him to control his sor- 
row. " I cannot," he moaned, " while storm and darkness 
are on her grave." His friends did everything that kind- 
ness could suggest, but in vain, to soothe his sorrow. 

Anne Rutledge was of gentle blood, she would have made 
him a noble wife in his humbler earlier years and in the 
imperial later life. Miss Anne's brother David took a 
course in Jacksonville College, and then went to Lewistown 
and studied law in the office of Lewis W. Ross and John P. 
Boice. He married Miss Elizabeth Simms, daughter of 
Colonel Reuben Simms, and he afterwards moved to 
Petersburg and opened a law office. He was a bright and 
promising man, and no doubt would have made his mark 
in state and nation but for his untimely death. He was 
buried by the side of his sister Anne in the E~ew Salem 
cemetery' * &r+ &&T^-&V?^*- de^^y 

His widow married C. W. Andrus, one of the prominent 
merchants of Havana. Major Newton Walker, L. W. 
Ross and James W. Simms all married sisters to Mrs. 
David Rutledge. 

The Rutledge family stood high in the Sangamon coun- 
try. Anne's father was a South Carolinian of high birth. 
One of his family signed the Declaration of Independence ; 
another was chief justice of the supreme court under Wash- 
ington's appointment, and a third was a conspicuous leader 
in Congress. So Lincoln's boyhood love was of high and 
gentle birth. 




One year after the sad death of Anne Rutledge, Mr. 
Lincoln again fell in love. Miss Mary Owens was his 
second sweetheart. She came from Kentucky on a visit 
to a married sister who lived near New Salem. In many 
respects she was very different from Anne Rutledge. She 
was older and larger ; she was finely educated, and had heen 
brought up in the most refined society, and she dressed 
much finer than any of the ladies who lived about New 
Salem. Her fashionable silk dresses, kid shoes and leg- 
horn hat were in striking contrast with the calico dress, 
calfskin shoes and straw bonnet that Anne had worn. 

Miss Owens was in the habit of making frequent visits 
to the postoifice for letters from her Kentucky home, and 
that was where Lincoln first became acquainted with her. 
It was not very long until he began to be a frequent visitor 
at her sister's home, and these visits continued until her 
return to Kentucky. It became the gossip of the neigh- 
borhood that they were to be married. When the gossip 
was repeated to Lincoln by a friend he replied : "If ever 
that girl comes back to New Salem I am going to marry 
her in about three years." Miss Mary did, in due time, 
return, but Mr. Lincoln did not marry her, and I presume 
the reader will want to know the secret of it all. They 
did not agree, and she would not consent to the marriage. 
On this point Miss Mary is reported to have said that 
there were many things about Mr. Lincoln that she liked, 
and many other things she did not like, and the things 
she did not like overbalanced the things she did like. "I 
could not help admiring Mr. Lincoln," she said, "for his 
honesty, truthfulness and sincerity and goodness of heart ; 
but I think he was a little too presumptuous when he told 


his friend that if I ever came back to New Salem he was 
going to marry, me. That is a bargain that it takes two 
to make ; and then his training and bringing up had been 
so different from my own and his awkward and uncouth 
behavior was most disagreeable. He was lacking in those 
little links which make up the chain of woman's happiness. 
At least that was my judgment. He was not the ideal 
husband that I had pictured to myself that I could love, 
and so, when he asked me to become his wife, I told him 

Now I will give Mr. Lincoln's side of the story. He 
had a dear lady friend whom he confided in and advised 
with in many of his private affairs. She had learned 
that he was engaged to Miss Mary and that the engage- 
ment had been broken off, and she wanted to know the 
cause. So he wrote her a letter, and it is presumable that 
he did not expect the letter to go out of her possession, un- 
less it went into the fire ; but as time went on it did get out 
of her possession and the following is a copy of it : 

" SPEINGFIELD, April 1st, 1838. 

" Dear Madam: It was in the autumn of 1836 that a 
married lady of my acquaintance, and who was a great 
friend of mine, being about to pay a visit to her father 
and other relatives residing in Kentucky, proposed to me 
that on her return she would bring a sister of hers with 
her on condition that I would engage to become her broth- 
er-in-law. With all convenient dispatch I, of course, ac- 
cepted the proposal, for you know that I would not have 
done otherwise had I really been averse to it ; but, pri- 
vately between you and me, I was most confoundedly well 
pleased with the project. I had seen the said sister some 
three years before ; thought her intelligent and agreeable, 
and saw no good objection to plodding life through hand 
in hand with her. Time passed on. The lady took her 
journey and in due time returned, her sister in company, 
sure enough. This astonished me a little, for it appeared 
to me that her coming so readily showed that she was a trifle 
too willing. But on reflection it occurred to me that she 


might have been prevailed on by her married sister to come 
without anything concerning me ever having been men- 
tioned to her ; and so I concluded that if no other objection 
presented itself I would consent to waive this. All this 
occurred to me on hearing of her arrival in the neighbor- 
hood, for, be it remembered, I had not yet seen her except 
about three years previous, as above mentioned. In a few 
days we had an interview, and, although I had seen her 
before, she did not look as my imagination had pictured 
her. I knew she was over size, but she now appeared a 
fair match for Falstaff. I know she was called an old 
maid, and I felt no doubt of the truth of at least half of 
the appellation. But now, when I beheld her I could not 
for my life avoid thinking of my mother; and this not 
from her withered features, for her skin was too full of 
fat to permit of it contracting into wrinkles ; but from 
her want of teeth and weather-beaten appearance in 
general, and from a kind of notion that ran in my head 
that nothing could have commenced at the size of infancy 
and reached her present bulk in less than thirty-five or 
forty years. In short, I was not at all pleased with her ; 
but what could I do ? I had told her sister I would take 
her for better or for worse ; and made it a point of honor 
and conscience in all things to stick to my word, especially 
if others had been induced to act on it, which in this case 
I had no doubt they had. I was now fully convinced that 
no other man on earth would have her, and hence the con- 
clusion that they were bent on holding me to my bargain. 
Well, thought I, I have said it, and be the consequences 
what they may be it shall not be my fault if I fail to do it. 
At once I determined to consider her my wife, and, this 
done, all my powers of discovery were put to work in 
search of perfections in her which might be fairly set off 
against her defects. I tried to imagine her handsome, 
which but for her unfortunate corpulency was actually 
true ; exclusive of this no woman that I had ever seen had 
a fairer face. I also tried to convince myself that the 
mind was much more to be valued than the person ; and 
in this she was not inferior, as I could discover, to any 


with whom. I had been acquainted. Shortly after this, 
without coming to any positive understanding with her, 
I set out for Vandalia to take my seat in the legislature 
to which I had been elected. During my stay there I had 
letters from her which did not change my opinion of her 
intellect or intention ; but, on the contrary, confirmed it in 
both. All this while, although I was fixed firm as the 
surge-repelling rock in my resolution, I found that I was 
continually repenting the rashness that had led me to 
make it. After my return home I saw nothing to change 
my opinion of her in any particulars. She was the same, 
and so was I. I now spent my time in planning how I 
might get along in life after my contemplated change of 
circumstances should have taken place, and how I might 
procrastinate the evil day for a time, which I really 
dreaded, as much, perhaps more, than an Irishman does 
the halter. After all my suffering upon this deeply in- 
teresting subject, here I am wholly, unexpectedly and com- 
pletely out of the scrape. And now I want to know if 
you can guess how I got out of it out clear in every sense 
of the term no violation of word, honor or conscience ? 
I do not believe you can guess, and so I might as well tell 
you at once. As the lawyer says, it was done in the manner 
following, to wit : After I had delayed the matter as long 
as I thought I could in honor do, I concluded I might as 
well bring it to a consummation without further delay, 
and so I mustered my resolution and made the proposal 
to her direct: but, shocking to relate, she answered No. 
At first I supposed she did so through an affectation of 
modesty, which I thought but ill-becoming her under the 
peculiar circumstances of her case. But on my renewal 
of the charge I found that she repelled it with greater 
firmness than before. I tried it again and again, but with 
the same success, or rather, with the same want of success. 
I finally was forced to give it up, at which very unexpect- 
edly I found myself mortified almost beyond endurance. 
I was mortified, it seems to me, in a hundred different ways. 
My vanity was deeply wounded by the reflection that I 
had been too stupid to discover her intentions, and at the 


same time never doubting that I understood them per- 
fectly; and, also, that she whom I had taught myself to 
believe of all women would have been the last to reject 
me with all my greatness. And, to cap the whole, I then 
for the first time began to suspect that I was really a little 
bit in love with her. But let it all go. I'll try and out- 
live it. Others have been made fools of by the girls, but 
this can never with truth be said of me. I most emphati- 
cally in this instance made a fool of myself. I have now 
come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying, 
and for this reason : I can never be satisfied with anyone 
who would be blockheaded enough to have me. 

" Your sincere friend, 


The above mentioned Miss Mary Owens was afterwards 
married to a highly respectable gentleman and became the 
mother of five children. She died July 4, 1877. Speak- 
ing of Mr. Lincoln a short time before her death she said 
of him : " He was a man with a heart full of kindness 
and a head full of sense." 

In the summer of 1833 the first circus and menagerie 
ever known in the West was billed to be in Springfield. I 
was then carrying the mail from Springfield to Lewistown, 
and Mr. Lincoln was keeping the postoffice at New Salem. 
The putting up of the circus bills created intense excite- 
ment in all the Springfield country. Thousands of the 
pioneers, as well as myself, had never seen such a show. 
Although I lived forty miles away I was determined, if 
possible, to go to Springfield and see the wonderful parade 
(advertised to take place on the streets at 1.2 o'clock), and 
also to see the show. I started at 12 o'clock the preceding 
night on horseback, and got to New Salem just at sunup 
the next morning. I went to the Rutledge tavern to get 
my breakfast and have my horse fed, and was told by Mr. 
Eutledge that Mr. Lincoln had gone to the country the day 
before to do some surveying, and he had not returned ; and 
that Bill Berry, his partner, had been to a dance the night 
before, and that it did not break up until near daylight, 
and that Bill had filled up pretty well on eggnogg, and he 


feared I would have some trouble in waking him up to 
change the mail so I could go on with my journey. After 
breakfast I found Bill in a profound slumber in a little 
room adjoining the postoffice. For half an hour I pounded 
at the door, and hallooed and yelled, but all in vain. It 
would have taken Gabriel's trump to have waked him up. 
So I had to throw my mail-bags across my horse and pursue 
my journey or I would miss that wonderful parade. 

At Sangamontown (seven miles beyond New Salem) I 
told the postmaster about my trouble at New Salem and 
asked him to keep the New Salem mail until my return 
next day, when I would carry it back. He did so, and I 
hurried on, and got to Springfield in time to see the parade 
and show. There was a mighty host of people in town who 
had come from far and near. Some had come as far as 
twenty miles in ox teams, fetching their entire families. 
There probably has never been so much excitement in 
Springfield from the time it was laid out as a town until 
now, except upon two other events. The first was when 
Lincoln the year before had piloted the little steamboat, 
the Talisman, up the Sangamon river and landed her at the 
bank near Springfield. The people believed that the San- 
gamon river would always be navigable for steamboats, and 
were wild with excitement and enthusiasm over the glorious 
outlook for the town's assured prosperity. The other great 
excitement was when the State capital was moved from 
Vandalia to Springfield. I may more fully allude to these 
other two events in a future sketch. 

There were two things connected with the show that as- 
tonished the people most wonderfully. One was the mon- 
ster anaconda, a serpent eighteen feet long, and the other 
was the young lady that stood upon her feet on the back of 
a horse and rode at full speed around the ring. If there 
was anything that would bring fear and terror to the early 
settlers it was the sight of a big snake. They had seen so 
many cases where people had been bitten by snakes, and 
the terrible sufferings they had endured, that they had a 
good reason to abhor and dread a snake. So when the 
showman took the monster from the iron cage, and it 


crawled upon his shoulder, with its hideous head extended 
far above him, and with its forked tongue darting out six 
inches, and its baneful eyes that looked like two balls of 
fire, the big audience was transfixed with terror. But when 
the showman commenced to carry the hideous thing about 
the ring close to the people, the women commenced scream- 
ing and the children crying in chorus, and the men com- 
menced to yell for the snake to be shut up in the cage. And 
so the showman had to stop the horrid performance and put 
the anaconda back into the iron cage, or there would have 
been a general stampede from the big tent. But the people 
cautiously thereafter approached the cage to gaze upon the 
dreadful snake. 

The people were entranced with the spangled young 
woman that rode at full speed about the ring, standing upon 
the horse's back. It was a common sight to see women and 
girls driving horses while they held the plow, or see them 
on horseback on a grist of corn going many miles to the 
water mills. The pioneer girls and women, as a rule, were 
expert horse-women on a side-saddle, or even bare-back. 
But when it came to a pretty girl standing on a horse going 
at full speed, it took their breath and made their hearts 
stand still. 'No mortal of them could ever have believed 
that a girl could do a thing like that until they saw it. 
There had been no rain in the Springfield country for sev- 
eral weeks, and the black dust lay deep in all the roads and 
streets. The big crowds kept it stirred up, and the women 
and children in their holiday clothes were a sight to behold. 

I learned that Lincoln had got back to ISTew Salem a few 
hours after I passed through, and was a little displeased 
because I had not left the mail, not knowing the cause. 
With every man, woman and child that could pay his way 
in, Mr. Lincoln went to the show. After the show was over 
I met Lincoln on the street, and as we met I noticed a little 
scowl on his face. He said to me : " How did it happen 
that you came through ]$few Salem and did not have the 
mail changed ? You might get me into trouble about this. 
Suppose the postmaster at Springfield should report the 
fact to the department at Washington that the mail was not 


opened at New Salem, but was brought on to Springfield, 
what would happen to me ?" 

Then I told him the whole story, how I had got up at 12 
o'clock at night so that I could get to Springfield to see the 
show come into town, and that I had never seen a show, and 
how anxious I was to see it, and how hard I had tried to get 
Bill Berry up to open the mail, and that I had not brought 
the mail to Springfield but had left it at Sangamontown 
and would carry it back to New Salem in the morning. 
Then Mr. Lincoln in a kind voice said : " O, well, in that 
case it is all right. Bill Berry ought to have got up and 
opened the mail for you." Then he said : " I am going 
home this evening, and I will stop and get the mail and 
carry it home with me," which I found next day that he had 

When I met Lincoln I noticed that he had bought a new 
suit of clothes and a new hat, and while he stood talking 
with me I had a good opportunity to scrutinize his whole 
wardrobe, and I believe I can remember every article of his 
clothing as well as if I had only seen it yesterday. The 
coat and pants were of brown linen and the vest of white 
marseilles with dots of flowers in it. The shirt was open 
front with small pleats buttoned up with small ivory but- 
tons. The collar was wide and folded over the collar of his 
coat. He had for a necktie a black silk handkerchief with 
a narrow fringe to it, and it was tied in a double bow knot. 
He wore a pair of low shoes with a narrow ribbon fastened 
on each side of the shoes, and they were tied in a double 
bow knot over the instep. He wore a buckeye hat, made 
of splints from the buckeye tree, and much after the 
fashion of straw hats. These buckeye hats were much 
worn in those times, and cost twice as much as the straw 
hats, or $1.25 to $1.50 each. So the reader may see how 
Mr. Lincoln must have looked when he was dressed up for 
the circus. 

When I got back to New Salem next morning I found 
that Lincoln had given the people their mail, and that Bill 
Berry had got sober and was very sorry for his misconduct, 
and that Lincoln had washed off the Springfield black dust 
and was amiable and happy as ever. 





In getting up these little sketches of the life of Mr. Lin- 
coln it is not my intention to go into a general history of his 
life, for after he was elected to the Legislature in 1834 his 
grand and noble life was an open book and is known and 
read by all men, but to speak of those little things that led 
him up step by step to that honorable and noble life. It 
may be an encouragement for many young men to follow 
his example. 

The first thing he undertook after coming to Illinois, 
worth mentioning, and that started him on his way to the 
White House, was his trip down the Sangamon river on a 
flat boat loaded down with produce. He was twenty-one 
years old, dressed in buckskin pants, butternut colored 
jeans coat, checked shirt and straw hat. If a casual ob- 
server had been told that the young man was starting for the 
White House at Washington he would probably have said 
such a thing was impossible. But nevertheless such were 
the facts of the case, for inside of that checked shirt and 
jeans coat was an honest, generous and noble heart ; inside 
of that straw hat was a head filled with good, solid horse 
sense, and the good Lord had blessed him with an indomi- 
table will, a sound body, a good pair of eyes and a good 
memory. He commenced using his eyes and memory as 
soon as the boat started down the stream. He spied out 
snags, sandbars, overhanging trees and other obstructions 
to navigation and remembered them, which secured him 
the position of pilot on a steamboat that ran up the Sanga- 
mon river the next year. His boat floated down the Sanga- 
mon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers to ISTew Orleans, where 
he sold boat and produce for a good price. He remained 
there long enough to visit the slave market and to see hus- 
bands and wives, parents and children torn from each 


other's arms to be separated perhaps forever. These things 
he also remembered, and when turning away he said to his 
companion, te If ever I get a chance I will strike that 
thing, and I will strike it hard " meaning the institution 
of slavery. As time rolled on his opportunity to strike 
came and the slaves were freed ! 

Tie went to the steamboat landing to take passage for St. 
Louis, but instead of paying $40 for a passage and spend- 
ing his time drinking, smoking and playing cards as the 
other young men did, he went to the captain and asked him 
if he wanted another hand on the boat. The captain told 
him to come around the next morning and he could have 
work, so he got his passage free and made a nice little sum 
of money besides. When he got to St. Louis he found the 
Illinois river steamboat had just left* and that there would 
not be another one going for several days. He left his 
baggage with his partner and went across the country to 
Coles county to visit his parents, but did not stay long, as 
he was anxious to return to ISTew Salem and turn over the 
money to the man who had shipped the produce. That 
transaction showed the people that he was capable and hon- 
est and he immediately received employment as a clerk and 
was afterwards appointed postmaster and county surveyor. 
This was another step towards the White House. 

The next spring he was looking over a newspaper and 
saw that a steamboat was to come up the Illinois river with 
the intention of running up the Sangamon as far as Spring- 
field. Learning what time she would reach Beardstown 
Mr. Lincoln set out afoot for that place, and when the 
steamboat Talisman landed and threw out her gang plank, 
he was the first person to step on board. He offered his 
services to pilot the boat up the Sangamon river, telling 
the captain that he had navigated that stream in a flat boat 
and knew where all the obstructions were, so he was secured 
to pilot the boat to Springfield and back for $50. The run- 
ning of a steamboat on the Sangamon river caused a won- 
derful excitement in Springfield, and, in fact, in all the 
country round about, for at that time no railroads had been 
built and the merchants and farmers had to haul their goods 


and produce to and from St. Louis, a distance of ninety- 
five miles. It took from ten days to two weeks to make a 
trip, but now they were to have a market right at home. 

When the legislature had passed a law a few years before 
declaring the Sangamon a navigable stream, little was 
thought of it. ISTow Lincoln had taken a flatboat load of 
produce down the river and had brought a steamboat up, 
which demonstrated the fact to a certainty that Sangamon 
river was a navigable stream. Great crowds of people 
came from all parts of the country to see her, as few had 
ever seen a steamboat. She laid at the wharf near Spring- 
field a week and during that time Lincoln was the hero of 
the occasion. He took advantage of this by getting ac- 
quainted with the people, making several speeches and 
shaking hands with every one. He got acquainted with 
:r ore people during that one week than he oovild have met 
in three months in traveling around the country. It was 
on this occasion that Mr. Lincoln's friends brought him out 
for the legislature. There was another circumstance con- 
nected with the running of the steamboat up the Saiigaiuon 
that benefited Mr. Lincoln. It induced almost every man 
who had land above high water to have it laid out in town 
lots, and Mr. Lincoln got several fat jobs of surveying. 

Mr. Lincoln had become very popular among the people 
because he had been so fair and honorable in all his deal- 
ings, and he would no doubt have been elected to the legis- 
lature had not the Democrats put up grand old Peter Cart- 
wright, the Methodist circuit rider and camp-meeting ora- 
tor. Cartwright had the advantage because he had 
preached in every church and school house and at every 
camp-meeting in the county and had lived in the county six 
years longer than Lincoln. He also had the advantage in 
age, being forty-seven years old, while Lincoln was but 
twenty-three. Cartwright had served a term in the legis- 
lature and was one of the best members in that body, there- 
fore the people sent him back by a small majority over Lin- 
coin. That was the only time Lincoln was ever beaten for 
office, and the only time Cartwright was ever beaten for 
office was bv Lincoln in 1846, when they were running for 


Congress. It was unfortunate for the people that both of 
these noble men could not have been elected. Peter Cart- 
wright was a simon pure Andrew Jackson Democrat and 
Abraham Lincoln was a Henry Clay Whig. 




In my last week's sketch of Lincoln I wanted to empha- 
size the fact that his trip to New Orleans in a flatboat, when 
he first saw in that city the horrors of slavery, was the first 
round in the ladder that led him to the president's chair. 
If he had not gone to New Orleans he would never have 
seen husbands and wives and parents and little children 
separated forever at the auction block, and it is not likely 
that his great heart Avould ever have been fired as it was 
with a deathless hatred of " the infamy of infamies." 

Then if he had not gone with a flatboat down the Sanga- 
mon en route to New Orleans, he would never have piloted 
that steamboat up the Sangamon to Springfield. It was 
this incident that put him on the track for the legislature. 
That step logically led him on to Congress, then to fight 
with Douglas for a seat in the senate, then to the trium- 
phant march to the presidency. It was all step by step on 
the ladder of fame from the flatboat to the president's 

I had a quarter section of land, two miles south of Ma- 
comb, that came to me from my father's estate. It was 
a fine quarter, but there was a little defect in the title, 
which could be remedied by the evidence of a man named 
Hagerty, who lived six miles west of Springfield and who 
knew the facts I wished to prove. I had noticed in the 
papers that court was in session at Springfield, and as court 
convened but twice a year I immediately started for that 
plaeo, which was sixty miles from my home. I found my 


witness and took him with me. On arriving at Springfield 
we went directly to Mr. Lincoln's office, which was over a 
store on the west side of the square. I think the office was 
about fourteen feet square and contained two tables, two 
book cases and four or five chairs, while the floor was per- 
fectly bare. I told Mr. Lincoln my business and showed 
him my title papers, which he looked over and then re- 
marked to me, " I am sorry to have to tell you that you are 
a little too late, for this court adjourned this morning and 
does not convene again for six months, and Judge Thomas 
has gone home. He lives on his farm a mile east of the 
public square, but," said he, " we will go and see him and 
see if anything can be done for you." I told him I would 
get a carriage and we would drive out, but he said, " No ; I 
can walk if you can." I said I would just as soon walk as 
ride, and before we started he pulled off his coat and laid it 
on a chair, taking from the pocket a large bandana silk 
handkerchief to wipe the perspiration from his face, as it 
was a very warm day in August. He struck off across 
the public square in his shirt sleeves with the red handker- 
chief in one hand and my bundle of papers in the other 
while my witness and I followed. 

We soon came to Judge Thomas' residence, which was a 
one-story frame house. Mr. Lincoln knocked at the door 
at that time there were no door bells and the judge's wife 
came to the door. Mr. Lincoln asked if the judge was at 
home and she replied that he had gone to the north part of 
the farm, where they had a tenant house, to help his men 
put up a corn crib. She said if we went the main road it 
would be about a half-mile, but we could cut across the corn 
field and it would not be more than a quarter of a mile. 
Mr. Lincoln said if she would show us the path we would 
take the short cut, so she came out of the house and showed 
us where a path struck off across the field from their barn. 
We followed this path, Mr. Lincoln in the lead, and myself 
and witness following in Indian file, and soon came to 
where the judge and his men were raising a log house about 
12x20 feet in size, which was to serve as a corn crib and 
hog house. Mr. Lincoln told Judge Thomas how I had 


come from Fulton county and brought my witness to town 
just after court had adjourned, and said he thought he 
would come out and see if anything could be done. The 
judge looked over the title papers and said he guessed they 
could fix it up, so he swore my witness, with whom he was 
acquainted, and procuring a pen and ink from his tenant 
fixed the papers. 

The judge and all the balance of us were in our shirt 
sleeves, and Mr. Lincoln remarked to the judge that it was 
a kind of a shirt-sleeve court. " Yes," replied the judge, 
" a shirt-sleeve court in a corn field." After the business 
had been transacted Mr. Lincoln asked Judge Thomas if 
he did not want some help in rolling up the logs, and the 
judge replied that there were two logs that were pretty 
heavy and he would like to have us help roll them up. So 
before we left we helped roll these logs logs up, Mr. Lincoln 
steering one end and the judge the other. I offered to pay 
the judge for taking the deposition of my witness, but he 
said he guessed I had helped with the raising enough to pay 
for that and would take nothing for his work. When we 
got back to Lincoln's office in town I think we had walked 
at least three miles. Mr. Lincoln put my papers in a large 
envelope with the name " Stuart & Lincoln " printed at the 
top. " ISTow," said he, " when you go home put those 
papers on record and you will have a good title to your 

I then took out my pocket book to pay him and supposed 
he would charge me about $10, as I knew he was always 
moderate in his charges. " Now, Mr. Lincoln," said I, 
" how much shall I pay you for this work and the long walk 
through the hot sun and dust ?" He paused for a moment 
and took the big silk handkerchief and wiped the perspira- 
tion off that was running down his face, and said : *' I 
guess I will not charge you anything for that. I will let 
it go on the old score." When he said that it broke me all 
up and I could not keep the tears from running down my 
face, for I could recall many instances where he had been 
so good and kind to me when I was carrying the mail ; then 
for him to say he would charge me nothing for this work 


was more kindness than I could stand. I suppose that 
what he meant by the old score was that I had occasionally 
helped him in his store and postoffice and my father had 
assisted him some when he got the postoffice. 

Now, there is something a little remarkable in the his- 
tory of those two men who worked together rolling up those 
two logs. It showed that the prominent men of that time 
were not too proud to engage in common labor. Judge 
Jesse B. Thomas, who was engaged at one end of the log, 
had served as representative in the Territorial Legislature 
of Illinois, had been twice elected to the United States 
Senate, once as a supreme judge, and was a mem- 
ber of the constitutional convention that framed the 
first constitution of Illinois, and had done more 
and had exerted a greater influence toward making the 
State of Illinois a slave .state than any other man. 
While the man at the other end of the log was 
Abraham Lincoln, who afterwards served in the Legisla- 
ture, in Congress, and as President of the United States, 
and who did more to banish slavery from the United States 
than any other man. 



When Mr. Lincoln first commenced the practice of law 
there was nothing that brought him so prominently before 
the people as a lawyer as his punctuality in collecting debts 
for his clients and paying over the money. 

At that time about two-thirds of all the business was done 
on credit. The Illinois merchants would buy their goods 
from the Eastern and St. Louis wholesale merchants on 
twelve months' credit and sell them to the farmers and me- 
chanics on the same time. The consequence was that the 


merchant's note would not be paid and it would be sent to 
some lawyer for collection, and then there would be as 
much trouble to get the money from the lawyers as it was 
from the customer. But Mr. Lincoln, whenever he col- 
lected any money, immediately forwarded it to the credi- 
tor, and in that way built up a practice that extended over 
several counties and earned for him the name of " Honest 
Abe " Lincoln, 

I remember meeting Mr. Lincoln, in the spring of 1839, 
between Canton and Lewistown. I overtook him about 
two miles north of Lewistown, and as we rode along he told 
me he had been attending court in Knox and Warren coun- 
ties and was on his way back to Springfield. As it was 
late in the afternoon and the roads were muddy, Mr. Lin- 
coln said he would stay in Lewistown over night, and in- 
quired about the taverns. I directed him to Truman 
Phelps' tavern, as it was the best place, and he stayed there 
over night. 1 remember he had a large pair of port- 
manteaus on his saddle which appeared to be pretty well 
filled. I suppose he had his law books and some clothing 
in them, for at that time lawyers who traveled around the 
circuit carried their law books with them. He was dressed 
in a suit of Kentucky jeans, over which was a heavy over- 
coat having four capes and a standing collar and fastening 
with a hook and clasp. He also wore a pair of green baize 
leggings, wrapped two or three times around the leg and 
tied just below the knee and pinned at the top and bottom. 

The night Mr. Lincoln stayed in Lewistown happened 
to be the evening for the regular meeting of the Lewistown 
lyceum, and he attended. The meetings of the lyceum were 
largely attended by both the ladies and gentlemen of the 
town and were held in the old Methodist church, two blocks 
west of the court house. The subject for discussion that 
evening was " Which has done the most for the establish- 
ment and maintenance of our republican form of govern- 
ment and free institutions, the sword or pen?" and Mr. 
Lincoln was invited to take part in the debate, which he did. 
The men speaking on the side of the sword were Lewis W. 
Ross, Richard Johnson and Joseph Sharp, all lawyers, and 


those speaking for the pen were J. P. Boice and Abraham 
Lincoln, both lawyers, and William Kelly, a merchant of 
Lewistown. The speakers for the sword commenced with 
George Washington and ran down to General Jackson and 
General Cass and other officers who had gained great vic- 
tories by the sword. When Lincoln commenced his speach 
he eulogized the other side for the effort they had made but 
said they had omitted the name of one of the valiant gener- 
als who lived in their own country. " For instance," said 
he, u there is General Stillman, who led the volunteers in 
the Black Hawk war." When he mentioned the name of 
General Stillman a smile came over the face of every one 
present, for we all remembered the general's defeat, and 
how Black Hawk, with his little band of Indians, chased 
him, with his larger force, fifteen miles and drove them 
into Fort Dixon. After Mr. Lincoln had joked them a 
little about their generals he entered into the subject in 
earnest and quoted from the writings of Patrick Henry, 
Benjamin Franklin and many other great men, which 
showed that he was well posted in the writings and history 
of our country. He made a royal good speech and the 
judges awarded to his side the victory, much to the gratifi- 
cation of Messrs. Boice and Kelly. 

Mr. Lincoln was dressed in a suit of jeans with heavy 
boots and looked like a farmer, and the people were very 
much surprised when they heard his speech. A number of 
ladies attended that evening and I had walked over to the 
meeting with Miss Isabella Johnson, who remarked that 
she thought the rough, farming looking man had made the 
best speech. Attorney Johnson, who was one of Lincoln's 
opponents in that debate, and who was familiarly known as 
" Dick " Johnson, came to California in 1850 and was 
elected attorney general of the state and held several other 
important offices. He came to see me after I came to 
California and in talking over old times asked me if 1 re- 
membered the time he and Lincoln measured the aword 
against the pen in the old Methodist church in Lewistown. 
He said he little thought that the man who defeated him in 
that debate would some day become President of the United 


Mr. Lincoln was well posted in all that took place in the 
Black Hawk war, for he enlisted three times. The first 
time the volunteers were called out by Governor Reynolds 
it was for three months and Mr. Lincoln was elected Cap- 
tain of his company. After the company was discharged 
it re-enlisted and served its time out and was again dis- 
charged, when Mr. Lincoln again re-enlisted and served un- 
til the close of the war. 

I remember the circumstances connected with Mr. Lin- 
coln's speech in Lewistown in August 1858, when he was 
running for United States Senator against Stephen A. 
Douglas. I was then living at Vermont, twenty miles from 
Lewistown, and drove to the latter town with my wife. She 
had often heard me speak of Mr. Lincoln and of his kind- 
ness to me when I was a lad carrying the mail, and she 
wanted to see him and hear him speak. I might say right 
here that we have been married for almost fifty-seven years, 
and that is the only political meeting she has ever had a 
disposition to attend. We stopped at my brother Lewis' 
house and found Mr. Lincoln sitting on the west porch. 
He and my brother Lewis had served together in the legis- 
lature and he had called at my brother's home to see him. 
I shook hands with him and told him that my wife and I 
had driven twenty miles that morning to hear him speak. 

Mr. Lincoln delivered his address in front of the old 
court house on a platform erected between two pillars. 
There were seats erected for 400 or 500 people, which were 
mostly occupied by ladies. I should think there were from 
2,000 to 3,000 people present. He spoke on the repeal of 
the Missouri compromise and of the steady and sure en- 
croachment of slavery on the free territory, and it was con- 
sidered as one of his ablest speeches. I got a front seat, for 
I was anxious to hear all he said, and as I sat there my 
mind w r ent back twenty-five years, during the same month, 
when I met him in Springfield on the day of the big show, 
how he was dressed on that day and how he catechised me 
about coming through New Salem without having the mail 
opened which I mentioned in a former article. In place 
of the short pants and brown linen coat and low shoes tied 


across the instep and buckeye hat, he wore a fine light linen 
suit, fine boots and a silk hat. Major Newton Walker 
and John Proctor accompanied him- to the court house in a 
fine carriage, and I think Major Walker took him in his 
carriage the next day to Canton, where he was to speak 




When Mr. Lincoln ran for the legislature in 1832 and 
was defeated by Mr. Cartwright it was no disparagement 
to him, for Mr. Cartwright was one of the strongest and 
most popular men in the country, but it was a stimulus to 
greater activity by him, and it is probable that it was a 
providential thing that he was not elected, for he was only 
twenty-three years old and had never applied himself to 
that diligent study which prepared him for the great duties 
that he was afterwards called upon to perform. After his 
defeat he applied himself industriously to his books, so that 
in 1334. when he was two years older and considerable 
wiser, his friends brought him out again for representa- 
tive. He was elected by a handsome majority and was 
re-elected in '3G, '"38 and '40, serving four terms, in all 
eight years, and in 1846 was elected to Congress. 

I will now go back a little and state a few facts in regard 
to Mr. Lincoln's stora-keeping, and how he became involved 
in a debt that hung over him for many years, for there 
have been many misstatements regarding it. When Mr. 
Lincoln kept the postofiice, the profits of the office did not 
afford him a fair living, and it confined him indoors so 
that he could not pursue any other occupation. There was 
a young man by the name of William Berry, who lived 
four miles from town with his father, Rev. John Berry, 


who was a Cumberland Presbyterian minister and a man 
of considerable property. William had attended the Jack- 
sonville college and was a smart, intelligent young man, 
but inclined to be a little bit wild. His father, knowing 
the good habits of Mr. Lincoln, induced him to take Wil- 
liam into partnership, and they purchased a store, paying 
a small part down and giving their notes for the balance. 
They kept the store in the same building with the postoffice 
and had as fair a trade, I think, as any of the other mer- 
chants in the town. The story told in W. H. Herndon's 
life of Lincoln, that after they had bought the first store 
they bought a second and then a third store on credit, and 
that Mr. Lincoln tried to get Berry to borrow money from 
his father to buy a fourth store, is all a fabrication. Mr. 
Lincoln was careful in all his dealings and was disposed 
to have too much confidence in men ; being honest him- 
self, he wanted to believe that other men were the same. 
He finally sold out his interest to his partner, who was to 
pay the debts. But young Berry soon after took to drink- 
ing, made some bad debts and took sick and died before 
the debt on the store was paid. It was the opinion of 
many persons at New Salem that the father of William 
Berry should have paid off the indebtedness and relin- 
quished Mr. Lincoln, for it was through his influence that 
the boy had been taken as a partner. Mr. Lincoln was too 
honest to let the debt go, and, keeping the interest up, the 
first money he could save from his salary, when he was 
elected to Congress in 1846, he sent to his law partner, W. 
H. Herndon, to pay off the old debt. 

Mr. Lincoln was very popular in and around New 
Salem, for in all his .dealings he had been both honest and 
truthful, and had the respect of all who knew him, which 
was shown in his race for the legislature in 1832, when he 
received all but seven or eight of the 300 votes in his pre- 

New Salem, at the time Mr. Lincoln lived there, was a 
great place of resort for the young men to gather on Sat- 
urdays. The Clary Grove boys, the Island Grove boys, 
the Sangamon River boys and the Sand Ridge boys, 


each designated by the part of the country from which they 
came, would gather there to indulge in horse racing, foot 
racing, wrestling, jumping, ball playing and shooting at a 
mark. Mr. Lincoln would generally take a lay-off for part 
of the day and join in the sport. He was very stout and 
active and was a match for any of them. I do not think 
he bet on any of the games or races, but they had so much 
confidence in his honesty, and that he would see fair play, 
that he was often 'chosen as a judge to determine the win- 
ner, and his decisions were always regarded as just. He 
would generally speak on the subject of internal improve- 
ment and of the great resources of the State of Illinois, 
of its advantages over other states, and of the wonderful 
opportunities that lay in store for the young men of Illi- 
nois if they would only improve them. In those speeches 
he very seldom touched on politics, so everyone was pleased 
and none offended, the meeting generally closing with three 
cheers for Lincoln and a general handshaking. The peo- 
ple would go home happy, and few of them would come 
in town again until the next Saturday. 

Mr. Lincoln was not only chosen as a judge in horse 
races, but was often the arbiter in disputes between his 
neighbors, and saved them many expensive law suits. A 
justice of the peace came into his office one day and com- 
plained that he had been cruelly wronged by him ; that he 
had deprived him of many fine fees by interfering with his 
business. Mr. Lincoln replied that he could not bear to 
see his neighbors spend their money in litigation and be- 
come enemies for life when he could prevent it. When 
these cases were brought before him he would generally 
give satisfaction to both parties, and when one was in the 
wrong he would point out to him his error and convince 
him of it before he left. 





In writing of the early life of Abraham Lincoln, I think 
I had better give a sketch of the early life of William H. 
Herndon, who was for twenty years a law partner of Mr. 
Lincoln, and who wrote " Herndon' s Life of Lincoln," 
contained in two volumes. There are but few persons 
now living who knew Mr. Herndon as well as I did in the 
days of his youth. He was a son of Archer G. Herndon, 
one of the early settlers of Springfield, who built and kept 
one of the first hotels ever erected in that city the Hern- 
don House. He was a prominent politician and had been 
elected State Senator, besides holding several other offices 
at different times. He was a Whig and a warm personal 
friend of Mr. Lincoln. 

While I was carrying the mail I stopped two nights each 
week at the Hern cl on House, and there is where I became 
acquainted with William Herndon. We were about the 
same age, he being fourteen years old, while I was 
fifteen, and as we were both of a lively disposition and fond 
of sport, we spent a great deal of time together, commenc- 
ing in the year 1832. He possessed one trait of character 
that many people objected to, and that was the delight he 
took in playing practical jokes. He did not seem to care 
how much misery and suffering he caused, so long as he 
had a little notoriety or fun out of it. In the fall of 1836 
my father sent me to the Jacksonville college. A young 
man named Porter from Chicago was my room mate, but 
after I had been there about a week Bill Herndon came 
up to our room and told me that he had come to attend 
college and wanted to know if I would take him as a room- 
mate, remarking that I was the only student with whom he 
was acquainted. I told him I was willing if Porter would 
consent, and Porter said he had no objections if I could 
furnish him bedding. 


As I had a room to myself and a large bed, I took Hern- 
don in and we bunked together. I noticed he had not 
brought a trunk with him, and I asked him where his trunk 
was. He said he had come away from home in a hurry and 
did not bring it, but that his folks would send it by the next 
stage. Then he commenced laughing, and I suspected 
he had been up to some of his old tricks, so I said : "Now, 
Bill, you have been in some devilment and you had to get 
away and you must tell us what it is." He said there had 
been an election for county officers up in Sangamon county 
and that one of the political parties had paid him $1.50 
to take some tickets out to a precinct a few miles from 
Springfield and heel them among the voters. After he had 
gone a mile he was overtaken by a young man who had a 
package of tickets for the opposing party. The young 
man offered Herndon $1.50 to take his tickets and distrib- 
ute them among the voters Herndon accepted the offer and 
the first creek he came to he soused the tickets in, leaving 
the men who would have voted that ticket the alternative 
of writing their tickets or not voting. This act incited 
the wrath of the parties who had employed him first, so he 
had come away until the storm blew over. He told the 
story with such glee and merriment that it was evident he 
thought he had done something .remarkably cute. 

Herndon had not been at the college long until it was 
evident that he was brim full of devilment, and there was 
scarcely a week during the time he stayed there that he 
was not cited to appear before the faculty for some mis- 
demeanor. It was not because there was anything bad 
about him that made him do as he did, but he wanted to 
gain notoriety and astonish somebody. After he left col- 
lege he clerked in a store in Springfield for a long time, 
and then commenced the study of law. He applied him- 
self to his studies, and was about twenty-five years old 
when he went in with Mr. Lincoln, who was nine years his 
senior. It was thought a little strange at that time that 
Mr. Lincoln would take into partnership so young and inex- 
perienced a lawyer as Bill Herndon. But he had his rea- 
sons and I think I can come very near guessing some of 


them. Bill's father had been a friend to Lincoln for a 
great many years and was a very influential man in San- 
gamon county. He had always helped Lincoln in every 
way, and it was in payment for this kindness that Lincoln 
took his son in his office. It was a parallel case with that 
of Bill Berry, who Lincoln took in as a partner in his New 
Salem store. Boih fathers wanted their sons in partner- 
ship with an honest man. 

Then there was another reason. Both of Lincoln's part- 
ners, John T. Stuart and Stephen T. Logan, were, like him- 
self, aspirants for political honors, and he had learned 
that a law office; could not prosper when all the members 
of the firm wanted to be Congressmen. As Bill was young 
and showed no disposition to run into politics, he thought 
it was safe to take him into partnership. And Bill did 
apply himself to business, and, so far as I can learn, gave 
perfect satisfaction to the firm and to the people for whom 
he transacted business, up to the time of Lincoln's death. 
But for some unaccountable reason, after Mr. Lincoln died 
he commenced drinking. He had never drank before in his 
life, and moved out to his farm, seven miles east of Spring- 
field, to get away from the saloons and his drinking com- 

I cannot but think that perhaps it was his ruling passion 
to do something surprising coupled with the habits of 
his later years, that induced him to make so many extrav- 
agant and untruthful statements in his "Life of Lincoln." 
I will mention a few of them. For instance, his state- 
ment that on his trip to New Orleans Lincoln bored a 
hole in the bottom of the flat boat to let the water out of 
course is untrue. He says Lincoln tried to drive some 
hogs onto the flatboat and when they would not go he sewed 
up their eyes so that they couldn't see where they were 
going, when the fact is there were no hogs taken on the 
boat, it being loaded with produce. He also says that 
Lincoln weighed 240 pounds when he lived in New Salem 
and could lift 1,000 pounds, and had been known to lift 
a barrel of whiskey by the chimes and drink out of the 
bung-hole ; that after he bought the store in New Salem 


he bought a second, then a third, and tried to borrow money 
to buy the fourth, when not a dollar had been paid on any 
of them. The facts are Lincoln never weighed over 
175 pounds in his life ; was never known to take a drink of 
liquor out of anything, and never purchased but one store, 
and paid for that. Herndon also said that the mail was 
caried through New Salem in a four-horse coach, and that 
the postage on letters was five, ten, fifteen, twenty and 
twenty-five cents. The mail was carried on horseback and I 
rode the horse, and the postage on letters was 6-]-, 12^, 18f 
and 25 cents, according to the distance they were carried. 
He says the Rutledge tavern, where Lincoln boarded, was 
a one-story house with four rooms, when in fact it was a 
two-story eight-room house. I only make these statements 
to show that he knew nothing of what he was writing ; that 
it was all guess work, and very poor guess work at that. 

The cruelest and most outrageous statement, however, in 
Herndon's book is the story of Lincoln breaking his en- 
gagement to Miss Mary Todd. He say that on the 1st 
day of January, 1841, careful preparations had been made 
at the Edwards mansion for the wedding. The house un- 
derwent the customary renovation, the furniture was prop- 
erly arranged, the rooms neatly decorated, the supper pre- 
pared and the guests invited. The latter assembled on 
the evening in question and waited in expectant pleasure 
the interesting ceremony of the marriage. The bride, 
bedecked in veil and silk gown, and nervously toying with 
the flowers in her hair, sat in the adjoining room. Noth- 
ing was lacking but the groom. For some strange reason 
he had been delayed. An hour passed and the guests, as 
well as the bride, were becoming restless. But they were 
all doomed to disappointment. Another hour passed and 
messengers were sent out over town, each returning with 
the same report. It became apparent that Lincoln, one 
of the principals in the little drama, had purposely failed 
to appear. The bride in grief dispersed the guests, who 
quietly and wonderingly withdrew'; the lights in the Ed- 
wards mansion were blown out and darkness settled over 
all for the night. After daylight and after a persistent 


search Lincoln's friends found him. Restless, gloomy, 
miserable, desperate, he seemed an object of pity. His 
friends, fearing a tragic termination, watched him closely 
in their rooms day and night. Knives, razors and every 
instrument that could be used for self destruction were re- 
moved from his reach. 

Now how any man can have the audacity to fabricate 
such a mass of falsehoods as the above story and put them 
in a book is beyond my comprehension. There is not a 
word of truth in it. Mr. Lincoln and Miss Todd were 
engaged at one time, but the wedding was put off one year 
by mutual consent, as Mr. Lincoln wanted to get his finan- 
cial affairs in a little better condition before he took a wife. 



In giving a short historical sketch of the Lincoln-Shields 
duel, as some of the historians saw proper to call it, I will 
state a few facts and circumstances, as I understood them 
at the time, that induced Mr. Shields to challenge Mr. Lin- 
coln to fight a duel. 

William H. Herndon, in his history of the life of Lin- 
coln, has appropriated some dozen pages in telling the story 
of that duel and has not told one-half of the difficulty that 
existed between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Shields. He says 
the trouble grew out of an article that appeared in the San- 
gamon Journal, supposed to have beeiJrritten by Mr. Lin- 
coln, and which Mr. Shields consumed derogatory to his 
character and standing as a stato^omcer. But from all I 
could learn the green-eyed rm^rater jealousy had more to 
do with Mr. Shields wantinj^o fight Mr. Lincoln than any 
thing else. Shields, Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas and 
some other young lawyers about Springfield had been pay- 
ing considerable attention to Miss Mary Todd, and Shields 
became deeply enamored with her. He had served a term 


in the legislature with a great deal of credit and was then 
holding the office of state auditor, and besides being an able 
lawyer he was quite popular in the democratic party. Miss 
Mary was a handsome, brilliant and highly-educated 
young lady, and there is no doubt that Shields wanted her 
to become his wife, but Mr. Lincoln was his rival, so when 
that article appeared in the Journal it gave him an excuse 
to challenge Lincoln to mortal combat. 

According to the rules of dueling the person challenged 
chooses the weapons and fixes the distance the combatants 
are to stand apart. Mr. Lincoln took advantage of his 
rights as the challenged party and chose as the weapons 
broad swords of the largest size, precisely equal in every 
way, and such as were used by the cavalry at Jacksonville. 
A plank, ten feet long and from nine to twelve inches wide, 
was to be firmly fixed in the ground as the dividing line, 
over which neither was to pass his foot on forfeit of his life. 
Next two lines were to be drawn on the grounbl parallel 
with the board and the full length of the sword from the 
board, and if either party stepped over this line during the 
contest he would be counted as having been defeated. This 
scheme placed the parties about six feet apart, and gave Mr. 
'Lincoln a tremendous advantage with his long legs and 
arms, while Shields was a short man with short arms and 
legs. The result would be that Lincoln by stooping over 
with his long arms could tickle Shields very uncomfortably 
about his ribs with the point of his sword, while Shields 
could not reach Lincoln by twelve or fifteen inches. It 
would have placed Shields completely at the mercy of Lin- 
coln ; but in all the world he could not have been in kinder 
hands, for it was never in Lincoln's big and tender heart 
to hurt a human being, except in self-defense. 

But while the seconds and friends of the two parties were 
making preparations for the duel, John J. Hardin (one of 
the most influential men of the state, and a friend of both 
parties), having heard that they were going to fight a duel, 
hastened to the scene of action and declared that the thing 
had to stop, that there was nothing to fight about except a 
miserable little misunderstanding between them. Mr. 


Hardin told the seconds to go to Shields and have him with- 
draw the offensive and threatening letter he had written to 
Lincoln, and then he believed Lincoln would give him a 
satisfactory explanation of the whole matter. Mr. 
ITardin's advice was taken, and then Mr. Lincoln explained 
that he had only written a short paragraph in The Journal 
which was not intended to reflect on Mr. Shields' character, 
but was merely an unmalicious electioneering document. 
Mr. Shields was satisfied with the explanation Mr. Lincoln 
gave, and the fight was declared off. 

Now it is probable that there was not another man in 
Sangamon county at that time who, if he had received such a 
challenge, w r ould not at once have made up his mind that he 
had to back dow T n and confess that he was afraid to fight, 
or stand up and be shot at. But not so with Lincoln. With 
his great mind and head full of hard common sense he was 
able to solve all such questions and come out victorious with 
nobody hurt. Mr. Lincoln afterwards told his friends 
that he did not want to hurt Shields that he had nothing 
against him ; but if he had paid no attention to the chal- 
lenge that Shields would have said he was a coward and had 
shown the white feather, and would have crowed over it 
like a bantam rooster, and he wanted to teach him to behave 

Herndon's Life of Lincoln says that Lincoln and Shields 
were to stand twelve feet apart in their duel ; it is certainly 
an absurd mistake. At least I always understood that the 
distance w y as twice the length of one of the swords that were 
to be used. So I have no doubt that Mr. Herndon missed 
the mark six feet ; but it was no uncommon thing for him 
to do. I find in his Life of Lincoln a great many instances 
in which he missed the mark more than six feet. For in- 
stance, he describes Mr. Shields at a hot-headed, blustering 
Irishman of but little prominence, when he was really a 
man of very great ability. He served as associate justice 
of the supreme court, was commissioner of the general land 
office, had the rare distinction of being at different times 
United States senator for three different states, and as a 
gallant officer of the Mexican War was advanced on his 
merits to the high place of major general. 


After Mr. Lincoln was elected president he remembered 
his old friend that was a rival for his sweetheart and would 
have fought a duel for her hand, and showed his kind arid 
forgiving spirit by presenting Shields with a brigadier 
general's commission. So Gen. James Shields must have 
been a man of considerable ability to have held these po- 
sitions, lie was a grand and patriotic man. 

How wonderful was the wisdom and tact and sweetness 
of Lincoln in averting with honor to himself the duel that 
might have robbed our country of two such men ! 



Since I commenced writing these sketches of the earlier 
life of Mr. Lincoln I have sometimes been asked if I knew 
anything about his religious belief and how he stood with 
the orthodox world on that subject. I have never heard 
him express himself on that question, and I do not believe 
that he ever made a public profession of religion or con- 
nected himself with any church. But I know that he was 
looked upon as a moral and exemplary young man. I have 
understood that a minister remarked to him one day that 
he believed that he was a Chri stain man, and asked why it 
was that he did not join some church ; and Mr. Lincoln is 
said to have replied that if he could find a church whose 
creed and requirements could be simmered down to the 
Savior's condensed statement. " Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with 
all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself," that he would 
join that church with all his heart and soul. 

William II. Herndon in his Life of Lincoln has this to 
sa of him : 

" In 1834, while he lived in ^ew Salem, and before he 
became a lawyer, he was surrounded by a class of people 
exceedingly liberal in matters of religion. Volney's Ruins 


and Paine's Age of Reason, and other infidel literature 
passed from hand to hand and furnished food for the even- 
ing in the tavern and village stores, and Lincoln read those 
books and thus assimilated them into his own being. He 
prepared an extensive essay, called by many a book, in 
which he made an argument against Christianity, striving 
to prove that the Bible was not inspired, and therefore not 
God's revelation, and that Jesus Christ was not the Son of 
God. The manuscript containing these audacious and 
comprehensive propositions he intended to have published 
or given a wide circulation in some other way. He carried 
it to the store where it was read and freely discussed. His 
friend and employer, Samuel Hill, was among the listeners, 
and seriously questioning the propriety of a promising 
young man like Lincoln fathering such unpopular notions, 
he snatched the manuscript from his hands and thrust it 
into the stove. The book went up in the flames, and Lin- 
coln's political future was secured." 

Now I have good reason to believe that Mr. Herndon 
drew largely on his imagination for this story. I believe 
it to be without foundation. As I have before stated, my 
business as mail carrier required me to be in Lincoln's store 
and postoffice a part of four days in each week to have the 
mail changed, and at the same time stopped at the same 
tavern with Mr. Lincoln. I generally kept my eyes and 
ears open and knew pretty well what was going on. If 
there had been any discussion or writing of the sort alluded 
to by Mr. Herndon I certainly would have known it. Mr. 
Herndon was then sixteen year sold and lived at Springfield, 
twenty miles away. His father kept the hotel where I 
put up two nights out of each week, and I generally found 
Bill on hand either at the hotel or the stable. If he had 
been away from his business to visit New Salem to look up 
Mr. Lincoln's religious record, I think that I would have 
known something about it. It will be noticed that Mr. 
Herndon says that Mr. Hill threw the infidel document 
into the stove. Now I know very well that in 1834 Mr. 
Hill never had a stove in his store. I remember that in 
the Rutledge tavern, where Mr. Lincoln boarded, they had 


a shelf put up in the sitting room, and on this shelf the 
library was kept. There were some twenty five or thirty 
books law books, histories and miscellaneous works but 
none of those books referred to by Mr. Herndon. 

I have always believed that from the first that I knew of 
Mr. Lincoln that he was a Christian and one of the best men 
that I ever knew. I think that all his acts, letters and pub- 
lic documents will show that Mr. Herndon was mistaken in 
regard to his infidelity. 

In 1851 Mr. Lincoln learned that his father was not ex- 
pected to live, and as he had sickness in his own family and 
could not go to see him, he wrote the following letter to his 
half-brother : 

" I sincerely hope that father may yet recover his health ; 
but at all events tell him to remember and call upon and 
confide in our great and good and merciful Maker who will 
not turn away from him in any extremity. He notices the 
fall of a sparrow, and numbers the hairs of our head, and 
he will not forget the dying man who puts his trust in him. 
Say to him that if we could meet now it is doubtful whether 
it would be more painful than pleasant ; but if it be his lot 
to go now he will soon have a joyful meeting with the many 
loved ones gone before, and where the rest of us, through 
the help of God, hope ere long to join them." 

It will be remembered that on his trip from Springfield 
to Washington to be inaugurated he addressed a multitude 
from the cars as he was leaving his old home and that 
among other things he spoke as follows : 

" A duty devolves upon me which perhaps is greater than 
has devolved upon any other man since the days of Wash- 
ington. He would have never succeeded except for the aid 
of Divine Providence upon which he had at all times relied. 
I feel that I cannot succeed without the same divine aid 
which sustained him, and in the same Almighty be- 
ing I place my reliance for support, and I hope 
you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that divine 
assistance without which I cannot succeed, but with which 
success is certain." 


At another time when our armies were meeting reverses 
and the destiny of the nation seemed to be hanging in the 
balance, President Lincoln appointed a day for prayer for 
the success of the army in the following words : 

" And, whereas, when our beloved country, once by the 
blessing of God united, prosperous and happy, is now 
afflicted with factions and civil wars, it is peculiarly fit for 
us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, 
and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and 
crimes as a nation and as individuals, to humble ourselves 
before Him and to pray for His mercy to pray that we 
may be spared further punishment, though most justly de- 
served ; that our armies may be blessed and made effectual 
for the re-establishment of law and order and peace 
throughout the wide extent of our country, and that the in- 
estimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under 
His guidance and blessing by the labors and sufferings of 
our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence. 
Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United 
States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next as 
a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all the people 
of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the 
people, and especially to all ministers and teachers of re- 
ligion of all denominations, and to all heads of families, to 
observe and keep that day according to their several creeds 
and modes of worship, in all humility, and with all re- 
ligious solemnity, to the end that united prayers of the 
nation may ascend to the throne of grace and bring down 
plentiful blessing upon our country." 

Now there is not much skeptical doctrines in these letters 
and utterances. So I think that we can claim that Mr. 
Lincoln was a pretty good orthodox Christian. 




About three years after Mr. Lincoln had been buried at 
Springfield I Avent to that city to visit his resting place 
and to see my old college chum, William II. Herndon. I 
hoped we could go together to visit Lincoln's grave. But 
I found that Mr. Herndon had moved seven miles into the 
country, and that he had recently had a long and serious 
illness, so that he would probably not be able to come to 
the city at that time. I then learned for the first time of 
my old friend's dissipation, following Lincoln's death. 
At last his friends had to send him into the country to get 
him away from the saloons and his boon companions. No 
doubt, in his dissipated and mentally-wrecked condition, 
he had Avritten the false and absurd things of Lincoln that 
marred his history of that great man a history that con- 
tains much valuable truth and information. But his in- 
temperate habits and abnormal mental condition are doubt- 
less to blame for the absurd and silly stories that mar the 
history and wrong the memory of the good Lincoln. It 
is strange that men of good sense will reproduce these out- 
rageous falsehoods in their papers and magazines as his- 
tory, when there is neither truth nor history in them. 

When I found that my unfortunate old school mate could 
not go with me, I went alone to Lincoln's grave. I was 
surprised to find that he was not buried in the old cemetery 
that I had often seen, but that his burial place was a long 
way north of town, and reached by street cars. When I 
got there I was again surprised to find his grave near the 
old stage road that ran in early times from Springfield 
to Peoria, and but a short distance from the old ferry 
where the road crossed the Sangamon river. All this 
ground was familiar to me. It brought to my mind many 
incidents of an historical nature. The ferry was of great 
importance in the olden times. The high land on either 


side came to the river, and it could therefore be crossed in 
any stage of water; but below this ferry for forty miles 
the river was difficult to cross, because of the low bottom 
lands that would overflow. Mr. Lincoln informed me of 
this fact, which he had discovered while navigating the 
river with flatboats and his steamboat. So it was that 
while I was carrying the mail in times of high water, in- 
stead of going from Athens to Sangamontown, and thus 
crossing deep sloughs and creeks, I kept up the river and 
crossed this ferry, two miles from Springfield, and so trav- 
eled up this old and familiar road that ran by Lincoln's 

Tradition tells us that it was at this ferry where Mr. 
Lincoln landed his canoe when he first came down the 
Sangamon river to make that locality his home, he then 
being a mere lad, and that he walked up the same old road 
to the hamlet of Springfield. It was at this ferry landing, 
also, that he landed and tied up for a week the steamboat 
Talisman, and stood upon her upper deck, and from day to 
day addressed the great crowds of people who flocked to the 
river to see the wonderful steamboat. These were the 
speeches in which he told the people of the wonderful pos- 
sibilities of the great state, and of its opulent future, if 
these possibilities were improved. What a prophet he 
was ! And yet he was in full view of the knoll on which 
was to stand his imperial monument of to-day, and never 
dreamed of the reverence and honor that would come to 
him. And I had often carried the mail over this ferry 
and highway close by this to be forever sacred spot, little 
thinking of the wonderful things to come in the following 
thirty-three years. 

Mr. Lincoln's remains were then enclosed in a brick 
vault, the walls two feet thick and twelve feet high. Since 
then the great monument has been erected above his ashes. 

I sat down by my old friend's grave while the old memo- 
ries crowded thick and fast about me. I recalled my first 
acquaintance with him in 1832 ; the many times I sat at 
the same table with him at the Hutledge tavern in New 
Salem ; of the many times we had joined in changing the 


mail ; I remember the last time I traveled the road, carry- 
ing the pouch of letters his hands had touched ; of the time 
he took the long walk in the hot sun to get Judge Thomas to 
fix the title papers to my land, refusing to accept a fee, 
because, he said, I had done favors for him. All of these 
incidents and numberless acts of kindness on his part 
crowded my memory. And then came before me his splen- 
did future life with its mighty honors and mightier bur- 
dens; his election to the presidency; the long and terrible 
war in which he was the great commander of army and 
navy; that noble victory that under heaven he achieved, 
and his cruel death amidst the shouts for the union re- 
stored and peace assured forever. And sitting by his 
grave I paid the homage of tears to my boyhood friend, 
the best, and truest, and sweetest man I ever knew. 

I believe that Lincoln might have said, the day before 
his assassination, as truly as did the Apostle Paul before 
his martyrdom : 

" I have fought a good fight ; I have finished my course ; 
I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me 
a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous 
Judge, shall give me at that day." 

Hnbrew Jackson* 






Since I closed the several sketches that I have been 
writing for The Fulton Democrat containing reminiscences 
of the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Peter Cartwright, I 
have received letters from Boston, Springfield and many 
other places requesting me to furnish them with copies of 
those letters. Some of the writers said they wished to 
write a history of the Life of Lincoln and wished to copy 
those letters into it. There have also been many requests 
that I should continue those sketches. But some of my 
children and grandchildren wish me to compile those let- 
ters in book form, and if I should do soi I would like to 
write also a few sketches of what I knew and have been 
able to reliably learn of the life and character of Andrew 
Jackson, and add these to those already written of Lincoln 
and Cartwright. 

I hope the readers will not think that I want to make 
myself conspicuous in writing up the history of great men, 
for I do not. But if 1 can tell some facts and give some 
new information that will be interesting and useful to my 
children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, of 



which I have a pretty fair stock, and at the same time 
might interest other people, it would be all that I could de- 

Peculiar circumstances have given me the privilege of 
knowing a good many incidents relating to that grand hero 
and statesman, Gen. Jackson, that are not generally known. 
1 remember very well the time that, he ran for president 
in 1828, and many of the events connected with that very 
exciting campaign ; and I visited him at the Hermitage 
and witnessed and enjoyed his kind and generous hospi- 
tality. I have also visited the memorable battle ground at 
New Orleans where the great battle was fought and won 
by Jackson and his men on the 8th of January, 1815, and 
procured some of the relics and trophies of that wonderful 

And now perhaps some of the readers may want to know 
how it happened that I, a resident of Illinois, ever came to 
know and learn very much about Andrew Jackson, who 
lived in Tennessee, and what led me to make him a visit 
at the Hermitage. So I will have to go into some family 
affairs to show how it happened. So I would say in the 
first place that all of my wife's relations back of the pres- 
ent generation were Tennesseeans and w r ere raised but a 
short distance from where Gen. Jackson lived, and they 
all knew him. My wife's father, Charles Kirkpatrick, 
who lived near Canton, 111., and was an elder in the Pres- 
byterian church of that place for many years, was a captain 
under Gen. Jackson in the war of 1812, and was with him 
in many expeditions against the Creek and Chickasaw 
Indians, and knew the old hero from his youth up. My 
wife's uncle (a brother to her mother), Col. George W. 
Churchwell, a prominent lawyer in that part of the country 
where General Jackson lived, had held the appointment of 
Indian agent under Jackson during a part of his presi- 
dential administration, and had practiced law at the bar 
with him, and had practiced law before the general when he 
was judge. Col. Churchwell's wife was also well ac- 
quainted with Jackson, and knew him at the time when he 
was converted and united with the Presbvterian church, 


and had sat at the communion table with him, herself be- 
ing a Presbyterian. Now it was from these persons I got 
a good deal of my information about Gen. Jackson. Gen. 
Churchwell was widely known throughout that part of the 
country. In addition to his large law practice he was a 
farmer and breeder of fine stock. He had a farm of 500 
acres two miles north of Knoxville, Tenn. At the time I 
visited him in 1843 he was the owner of some forty slaves of 
both sexes and all ages. Col. C. and wife came to Fulton 
county about every two years to visit his sister and family 
and to look after some lands he had there. It was on the 
occasion of one of those visits that I met with him and bar- 
gained for some of his fine stock. So in the fall of 1843 
I started from Havana, 111., with two horses and a carriage, 
in company with my wife's brother, Alexander Kirkpat- 
rick, and my brother, Pike C. Ross, to go to Knoxville to 
bring home the stock. But before we started Captain 
Kirkpatrick charged us very particularly if we traveled 
near to the Hermitage to be sure to stop and see Gen. Jack- 
son and to give to the old general his kind regards, and to 
tell him the number of his regiment and company, and 
what battles and expeditions they were in together. 

I stated in my last communication that with my brother 
Pike C. Ross and my wife's brother, A. C. Kirkpatrick, I 
had made arrangements to go to Knoxville, Tennessee, to 
bring home some fine stock that I had purchased of my 
wife's uncle, Col. George W. Churchwell, who lived on a 
farm near that place. My brother Pike at that time was 
about eighteen years, and my wife's brother was two years 
older. Both were full of life and were desirous of getting 
as much pleasure out of the trip as possible. 

We started from Havana, Mason county, about the first 
of October, 1843, with a span of fine traveling horses and a 
light carriage. Our route ran through a section of coun- 
try where I had traveled as early as in 1829 and 30, and I 
could point out to the boys some of the old landmarks of 
that early day and tell them of the wonderful changes that 


had taken place in the country since I first traveled through 

In 1828 when my father settled at Havana there was not 
a house on the Springfield road between Havana and 
Miller's Ferry on the Sangamon river, a distance of fifteen 
miles. And in all that section of country lying between 
the Sangamon river and the Mackinaw river and running 
east from the Illinois river for a distance of fifteen 
miles, containing at least 400 square miles, there was 
not a white inhabitant except three or four families 
at Havana. Great numbers of Indians lived along the 
water courses, and their Indian ponies by the thousands 
ranged over all that vast country. 

As we traveled on we stopped at the old town of New 
Salem, Mr. Lincoln's old home and stamping ground, 
where he kept store and the post office. I had not been 
there since I carried the mail some ten years before, and I 
wanted to see how the old town looked. I found some of 
the old buildings still standing, but most of them had been 
taken to Petersburg. Mr. Lincoln's house, where he kept 
store and the post office, and Samuel Hill's store, where Mr. 
Lincoln had clerked, had been taken away. The old log 
tavern where Mr. Lincoln and I boarded was still there, 
and I wanted to patronize it for Auld Lang Syne's sake, 
but the old sign with " The New Salem Inn " on it had 
been taken down and we could get no accommodations. 
The frame of the water mill was still standing:, but there 
was no longer a mill there. There is a little history about 
that mill and the men who built it which I will relate: 
It was at this mill that Mr. Lincoln first got emplovment 
when he came to New Salem, and it was at this mill that 
Samuel Hill had 100 barrels of flour made which Mr. Lin- 
coln took to New Orleans on his flat boat. The mill was 
built by John Cameron and George Rutledge, who were 
also the proprietors of New Salem. John Cameron sold 
his interest in the mill and moved to Fulton county and 
settled on the bluffs half a mile south of where Bernadotte 
now stands. He was one of the proprietors of Bernadotte. 
He built a water mill at that place which was the first grist 


mill ever built on Spoon river. He moved from Fulton 
County to Oregon, and from there to California. He died 
in Oakland, California. His grandson, W. W. Cameron, 
represented Oakland in the state legislature, and was also 
mayor of Oakland. 

The next place we came to that is worth mentioning was 
old Sangamontown, lying on the Sangamon river, and 
about eight miles from Springfield. It was laid out about 
the same time that Springfield was. It was at this place 
that Mr. Lincoln built the flat boat which he took to ISTew 
Orleans, and it was at this place that Peter Cartwright or- 
ganized his first church and Sabbath school after coming 
to Illinois. His residence was on a farm two miles south 
of the town. 

We went on to Springfield and there took the old stage 
road that ran from Springfield to Vandalia. I remember 
traveling that road, in 1829 in company with my father 
and a hired man. We were taking a drove of horses from 
Havana to St. Louis for sale, as that place was at that 
time the principal market for all Illinois. There was not 
a house or habitation from Springfield to Macoupin, a dis- 
tance of eighteen miles. The whole country was covered with 
high grass, in many places extending above the backs of our 
horses. And then there was another thing that happened 
to us that I will never forget. It was the terrible fight 
we had with the horseflies. It appeared as if that whole 
country was swarming with horseflies. There Avas the 
small fly that would cover the head and ears of the horses, 
the green-headed and large black fly. They would torment 
the poor horses so that they would run into the high grass 
and roll over to get rid of them. Sometimes a half dozen 
would be down at once. We had hard work to keep the 
horses we rode from doing the same thing. When we got 
to Macoupin Point we were told that our trip across the 
prairie ought to have been made in the night, that during 
the summer season the stages and most all travelers crossed 
the prairie at night to avoid the flies. 

When we left Sangamon we struck through for Van- 
dalia, where the capital of the state had been located for 


many years before it was removed to Springfield. I had 
a strong desire to visit the old town of Vandalia that I had 
heard so much talk about. For a number of years after 
the settlement of the country all the land in the state owned 
by individuals upon which the taxes had not been paid 
were sold for the taxes at Vandalia. I remember that my 
father and Joel Wright of Canton and a few other men of 
Fulton county were in the habit of going to Vandalia to 
attend these sales. My brother Lewis lived at Vandalia 
at one time about a year. It was in 1828 or '29. He 
went there to learn the printer's trade. He held the po- 
sition I think of Avhat that craft calls the " printer's devil." 
He worked for Judge James Hall, who was one of the first 
editors in the state. I think he moved out of the state 
and my brother gave up the trade. It was at Vandalia 
where Mr. Lincoln first went to the legislature, and Major 
jSTewton Walker was a member at the same time from Ful- 
ton county. 

From Vundalia we traveled southeast to the Ohio river. 
We found the country from Vandalia to the river settled 
generally by people who emigrated from the slave-hold- 
ing states, and the improvements were much inferior to 
the country we had passe-l between Springfield arid Van- 
dalia. Where the country had been settled mostly by 
eastern people in the southern part of the state a great 
many people were still living in their log houses, and 
small farms in cultivation ; part of their land was planted 
in tobacco, cotton and flax. The southern counties had 
been settled much longer than the northern and middle 
counties, but were far behind in improvements. I will 
mention a little circumstance that happened as we were 
traveling through that part of the country, which w y as a 
little amusing to my young companions, and will demon- 
strate the amount of enterprise the people possessed : 
We stopped one day at a farm house to get a drink of 
water, and the lady of the house came out with a gourd 
that would hold a half gallon and told us that if we 
wanted a good cool drink that we had better go to the 
well, and pointed to where it was, and remarked that if we 


found any polliwigs in the water we were to pound the 
gourd against the side of the ladder that was in the well 
and they would all go to the bottom. So my brother Pike 
climbed down the well on the ladder and found the water 
alive with polliwigs, but he obeyed instructions and 
pounded the gourd against the side of the ladder and the 
polliwigs all disappeared and he brought up the gourd full 
of water without a polliwig or a tadpole in it. 

We went on the Ohio river and was informed that the 
best way to go Knoxville in Tennessee was to go through 
Nashville. So when we got to Nashville we put up at 
the City Hotel, which we found afterwards was the very 
hotel where the wonderful tragedy had taken place be- 
tween General Jackson and the Bentons, where Jackson, 
in attempting to horsewhip Thomas H. Benton, was shot by 
Jesse Benton, a brother of Thomas, putting a ball through 
his arm and one in his shoulder. The particulars of the 
fight and the cause of it I will give further on. 

On our arrival at Nashville, as stated last week, we 
put up at the City Hotel, where the terrible tragedy had 
taken place between General Jackson and the two Ben- 
tons. The landlord had kept the hotel for a good many 
years, and was well acquainted with Gen. Jackson. Ther^ 
were also several men staying at the hotel who had been 
personally acquainted with Gen. Jackson for twenty or 
thirty years, and they gave us a good deal of information 
about him and the circumstances of the fight, as follows : 

Thomas H. Benton, the old United States senator, who, 
T believe, served longer in the senate than any other man, 
had a brother Jesse who lived in Nashville, and who had 
got into some trouble with another Nashville man named 
Wm. Carroll. Jesse Benton sent Carroll a challenge to 
fight, and he accepted the challenge. Carroll and Jack- 
son were warm friends., he having served under Jackson 
in the army as captain. So he went out to the Hermitage 
to see if Jackson would act as his second in the duel, bur 
Jackson objected, saying that he was a friend of the 
Bentons and he did not want to do anything that would 


offend them. 

Nashville and see Jesse Benton and try to have the mat- 
ter settled between them without any fighting, and he 
came to town and tried to have the matter settled between 
them. But Benton gave him to understand that Capt. 
Carroll would have to fight or show the white feather, 
saying that he would run him out of town. Benton made 
use of some language that Jackson thought was rather 
insulting, and so he consented to act as Carroll's second 
in the duel. They went out and took a crack at each 
other. Benton was wounded quite severely in the side, 
though not dangerously, arid Capt. Carroll was slightly 
wounded in the left thumb. Benton was laid up twenty 
days with his wound. Thomas II. Benton, the brother 
of Jesse, was in Washington city at the time of the duel. 
When he received the news that his brother Jesse had 
fought a duel with Capt. Carroll and was badly wounded, 
and that Carroll had but a slight wound in his left thumb, 
and that General Jackson had been a second to his 
brother's gntagonist, his wrath and indignation knew no 
bonds, and not having the facts in the case ; he wrote Jack- 
son very insulting and abusive letters, accusing him of all 
kinds of treachery and dishonesty, and some of his letters 
were published in the Nashville papers. These things 
aroused all the old tiger there was in Gen. Jackson, and 
while his wrath and high temper had the control of his 
better judgment he made a solemn vow in the presence 
of some of his friends that- "By the eternal, the first time 
I get my eyes on Tom Benton I will horsewhip him !" So 
in about a month after the duel Avas fought Thomas H. 
Benton came to Nashville and put up at the City Hotel. 
His brother Jesse by that time had recovered from his 
wound so that he was able to walk about the streets. In 
a few days after, Gen. Jackson rode to town to get his 
mail, left his horse at the Nashville Inn, but kept his 
horsewhip in his hand. After he got his mail he walked 
past the City Hotel and there observed Thomas H. Ben- 
ton and his brother Jesse standing in front of the hotel 
a-talking He walked up to Benton and told him that he 


had to take back those scandalous assertions that he had 
made about him or he would have to take a horsewhip- 
ping. At that Benton made some pretense as if he were 
going to draw a pistol. Then Jackson drew his revolver 
and told him that if he attempted to draw a weapon he 
would get the contents of his pistol. Jesse Benton, who 
was standing near, seeing the predicament that his 
brother was in and with little chance to defend himself, 
drew his pistol and blazed away at Jackson and brought 
him to the ground, pistol, horsewhip and all. His pistol 
was loaded with two balls, one of which went through 
Jackson's arm and the other lodged in his shoulder. Jack- 
son carried that ball in his shoulder for twenty years. 
The fight created a wonderful excitement in Nashville. 
The news ran like wildfire, and in ten minutes after 
Jackson was shot a thousand men were at the hotel and 
many fights took place between the friends of the two 
parties. One of Jackson's friends knocked Jesse Ben- 
ton down and pounded him almost to death. Thos. H. 
Benton in the fight and skirmishing fell througli an open 
doorway into the basement of the hotel, which saved him 
from getting a terrible whipping. The landlord told us 
that Jackson Avas confined at the hotel about three weeks 
before he could be removed to his home. 

Soon after this occurrence Thos. H. Benton left the 
state of Tennessee and moved to Missouri, and he and 
Jackson did not meet again until sixteen years after, when 
they met as senators in Washington and had selected seats, 
unknown to either of them, that were located side by side ; 
and they were both placed on some important committee, 
so that they had to come face to face. But they at once 
shook hands and were forever after good friends. 

The next morning we started on our way to the Her- 
mitage, which was some ten or eleven miles from Nash- 
ville. We traveled on a fine turnpike road which ran 
through a fertile country. On the road between Nash- 
ville and the Hermitage we passed the spot where there 
had been built at one time a fort or blockhouse, where 
the people gathered when the Indians were troublesome. 


This fort, we were told, was afterwards purchased by 
Gen. Jackson and a man named Coffee and converted 
into a storehouse, and there they kept store for some years 
under the name of Jackson. & Coffee. They bought large 
quantities of cotton and produce and shipped it down the 
Cumberland and Mississippi rivers in flatboats to New 
Orleans. Near the fort was one of the finest racetracks 
in the state, and there they also had a place erected for 
the exhibition of game cocks, where people came from 
hundreds of miles and from other states with their race 
horses and game cocks. Thousands of dollars would be 
bet on the races and cock fights. 

We found the Hermitage was located about a half a 
mile from the turnpike road that ran from Nashville to 
Knoxville, but he had a private road that ran from the 
turnpike up to his house. Before we got to his house we 
passed a small brick Presbyterian church which we were 
told that Gen. Jackson had built on his own land for the 
accommodation of his wife after she united with that 
church ; and it was at this little church where he was con- 
verted and joined the Presbyterian church, of Avhich L 
may have something more to say. We drove up to the 
house and hitched our horses, opened the little iron gate 
and went in. We found the general sitting on his front 
piazza reading a newspaper. We introduced ourselves to 
him as well as we could, and told him we were from 
Illinois and on our way to Knoxville to take home 
some fine stock that I had purchased from Col. 
George W. Churchwell of that place, and told him 
of our relationship to Capt. Charles Kirkpatrick, 
who had served under him, and gave him the number of 
the regiment and the company that he commanded. The 
general said he remembered him very well, and told us of 
several expeditions they had been on together, and ap- 
peared to be pleased that we had called to see him, and 
asked us to have our horses put up and stay to dinner with 
him. But I told him as it was early in the day we would 
rather drive a few miles further before dinner. He said 
he was always glad to hear from any of the old comrades 


who were with him in the army, and was glad to meet any 
of their relatives. He asked my brother-in-law a good 
many questions about his father ; wanted to know in what 
part of Illinois he lived, what his occupation was, and how 
many children he had. He said he knew his father very 
well, and also his two brothers then living in Tennessee. 
He also said he was very well acquainted with his uncle, 
George W. Churchwell, who had held the office of Indian 
agent when he was president, and had practiced law before 
him when he was judge. He also said that he knew his 
aunt, Col. Churchwell' s wife ; that they were both Presby- 
terians. He asked us if we would take a walk with him 
out in his orchard, saying he had some pretty good eating 
apples. But before we went to the orchard he took us 
through several rooms of his house. In one room he had 
a large library of books, with a number of fine pictures 
hanging around the walls. In another room he had a 
great lot of old Avar relics, such as old swords, pistols and 
old muskets, all with flint locks, and a great lot of old 
regimental clothing that was hanging around the walls. 
Some of it looked like it might have been worn in the times 
of the Revolutionary War. The Hermitage was a good, 
substantial building, but everything about it was very 
plain. Such a house could have been built in Illinois at 
that time for $4,000. He told me that his wife's nephew, 
Mr. Donelson and family, were living with him. He took 
us to his barn and showed us a span of carriage horses that 
he had, but they were not as good as the span I was driving. 
His barn was quite plain no better than many Illinois 
farmers had at that time. We went from the barn to the 
orchard. He had a very fine orchard and a most excellent 
quality of fruit. He told us to tie up in our handkerchiefs 
and take all the apples we wanted to eat on our way. So 
we laid in a pretty fair supply which lasted till we got 
across the mountains. I told the general that he had some 
good eating apples and that I would like to take a half 
dozen home to my wife and boy ; that I had a boy sixteen 
months old, and I could tell them when I got home that the 
apples came from Gen. Jackson's orchard. So he took me 


to a tree of large red apples which he called winesaps ; so 
I gathered the apples and stored them away carefully in my 
satchel and brought them home. As we were returning 
from the orchard to the house he took us through a lot that 
lay a few rods east of the house and there showed us the 
grave of his wife. It was a plat of ground ahout 8x10 feet, 
enclosed with a marble wall rising about three feet above 
the ground, and a partition wall in the middle ; on one side 
his wife was laid and was covered with a marble slab on 
which was engraved, " Mrs. Rachel Jackson, died 23rd 
December, 1828, aged sixty-one years." The general told 
us that when he died that he expected to be laid by his 
wife in the enclosed plat of ground. He spoke of his poor 
health and said that he did not think it would be many 
months until he would be lying there. He was very thin 
in flesh and pale at that time. He had us come into the 
the house again and brought in a pitcher of cold water. 
I asked him if he had ever been in Illinois. He said he 
had not, but he had become acquainted with a good many 
Illinois men when he was in Congress and while he was 
president, and named over several that I knew. He also 
said that he had been acquainted Avith a Methodist preach- 
er who had been a delegate to the ISTashville conference by 
the name of Peter Cartwright, who was now living in Illi- 
nois, and asked me if I knew him. I told him that I knew 
him very well ; that he had often staid at my father's house 
and had preached in our log cabin in the early pioneer 
times, before there were any church buildings put up. He 
then went on and told the story that when Cartwright was 
preaching one time in Nashville he went to hear him, and 
as he was walking down the aisle the preacher in the pulpit 
by the side of Cartwright gave his coat a jerk and told him 
that Gen. Jackson was coming in; at which Cartwright 
spoke out so loud that all the church could hear him: 
" Who is Gen. Jackson ? If he don't get his soul con- 
verted God will damn him as quick as He would a Guinea 
negro ! " I suppose the general thought I had never heard 
the story ; but I heard it some years before from the Cart- 
wright side, and was pleased to hear it from the other side. 


The general went down to the carriage with us to see our 
horses, and admired them very much, for they were splen- 
did animals. He told us to give his kind regards to Col. 
Churchwell and wife when we got to Knoxville, and also 
to Capt. Charles Kirkpatrick when we got home. 

There was one circumstance which I omitted to mention 
relating to my visit to the Hermitage, which was the splen- 
did arrangement which Jackson had made for the pleasure 
and good of his slaves. Each family had a one-story 
frame house that was painted either white or red, and with 
it about an acre of ground, all fenced in with palings or 
board fence and whitewashed; and around each of these 
houses were a lot of fruit trees and shrubbery. We were 
told that the general was always good and kind to his slaves, 
and would never permit any of them to be sold to go to the 
southern states, and that his slaves were strongly attached 
to him, and that nothing would induce them to leave their 
old master. Notwithstanding the terrible temper that the 
general possessed, which made him like a Kansas 
cyclone when he was imposed upon and aroused, 
he still possessed a kind and tender heart, Many 
people told us, who had known the general and his good 
wife during all their thirty-seven years of married 
life, that she was a grand and noble Christian lady, and was 
honored and loved by everybody ; that their affection for 
each other was of the tenderest kind ; that the general al- 
ways treated her as if she was his pride and glory, and that 
words could faintly describe her devotion to him ; that it 
was seldom that a husband and wife lived as happily to- 
gether as they had done. We were told that when Mrs. 
Jackson died no such demonstration had ever been known 
at a funeral in that part of the country before ; that the 
mayor of Nashville issued a proclamation requesting busi- 
ness men to close their stores and asked that the bells of the 
city be tolled from 1 to 2 P. M., during the funeral. Every 
vehicle in the city was employed in taking people to the 
Hermitage, where the funeral was held. It was estimated 
that 10,000 people attended the funeral. The death of 


Mrs. Jackson was a terrible shock to the general, and some 
of his slaves went, almost frantic with grief and despair. 
Such weeping and wailing had never been heard at a fun- 
eral, nor so much affection shown by slaves on the death of 
a mistress. 

There was a little circumstance that took place in connec- 
tion with the life of Gen. Jackson that I thought I would 
mention. I heard my father-in-law, Capt, Charles Kirk- 
patrick, speak of it, and also his brothers and some others 
that we met on our visit to Tennessee. It was on one of 
Gen. Jackson's expeditions against the Cherokee Indians, 
and will show that he did possess a kind and tender heart. 
The general and his soldiers were pursuing a band of Indi- 
ans, and surrounded them ; and as the Indians were attempt- 
ing to escape every one was killed. In going to their wigwams 
they discovered a little boy papoose, and as the sol- 
diers were about to dispatch him, the general commanded 
them not to hurt the little boy. And he took the little 
Indian boy home with him, and raised him, and sent him 
to school, and became very much attached to him. The 
little Indian boy became very expert- in the riding of race- 
horses. He could get more speed out of them than any 
rider in the country ; as the general was keeping some race- 
horses at the time, the boy made himself quite useful to the 
general. When the boy got to be fifteen years old the gen- 
eral thought he had better learn a trade; so he took him 
around among the artisans and mechanics in Nashville to 
choose the trade that he would prefer ; so he chose the trade 
of saddlery and harness-maker, but after working at it a 
year he died. It was thought that if he had lived that the 
general would have made provisions for him in his will. 

In giving this story about Gen. Jackson and the little 
Indian boy I might with some propriety make use of a 
habit peculiar to Mr. Lincoln ; after listening to a story 
told by a friend, he would say : " Now, that puts me in 
mind of a little anecdote," and would go on and relate one 
of his quaint and humorous stories to match the one told 
him. So the circumstance about Gen. Jackson and the 
Indian boy has brought to my mind a similar circumstance 


that took place with Alexander Kirkpatrick, who was with 
me at the time we visited Gen. Jackson. Whether the 
story above told about Jackson and the Indian boy had any 
bearing on the story that I am about to tell I cannot say. 

Alexander Kirkpatrick, in 1847, went to study medicine 
with Dr. W. H. Nance, at Vermont, Illinois, and in 1850 
went to California, and practiced medicine in San Fran- 
cisco and also in Redwood City. He became very 
eminent in his profession, having at one time the 
largest practice in San Francisco. In 1861 there was or- 
dered out in California a regiment of soldiers to go into the 
northern border of the state to fight the Indians, who had 
been murdering a good many families. Dr. Kirkpatrick 
got the appointment of surgeon to go with the army. On 
that expedition they came upon the camp of the hostile 
Indians and surrounded them, and as they attempted to 
escape everyone was killed. The soldiers went inside of 
the wigwams and there found a little girl papoose. One 
of the soldiers was about to run his bayonet through her 
when Dr. Kirkpatrick jumped in before him and caught 
the little girl up in his arms and saved her life. Some of 
the soldiers who had lost relatives by the Indians were de- 
termined that she should share their fate ; but the doctor 
drew his revolver and said that he would protect the girl 
at the risk of his life. He brought the little Indian pa- 
poose home and raised and educated her the same as he did 
his own children. The doctor told me that the child had 
so many droll and quaint ways about her and was so differ- 
ent from other children that he gave her the name of 
' Topsy," after the girl spoken of by Harriet Beecher 
Stowe in " Uncle Tonrs Cabin." So she always went by 
the name of Topsy Kirkpatrick up to the time of her mar- 
riage with a white man. I have asked the doctor if he 
thought that the stories we heard in Tennessee about Jack- 
son and the Indian boy had anything to do with his rescue 
of the Indian girl, and he said he thought that it had. 

Dr. Kirkpatrick died in San Francisco in 1894, leaving 
a widow and two sons and three daughters and Topsy to 
mourn his loss. He was a kind-hearted, noble and e'ener- 


ous man, and was loved and honored by all who knew him. 
He left a beautiful home to his family and life insurance 
to the amount of $20,000. 







I will give a little history of the presidential election of 
1828, when Andrew Jackson ran against John Quincy 
Adams. At that time I was about twelve years old, and 
very distinctly remember the election held in Lewistown, 
Illinois. It was probably the most exciting election, and 
probably more bitter feeling indulged in, than at any elec- 
tion that has ever taken place in this country. For several 
months before the election almost every occupation was 
dropped and the men occupied their time electioneering. 
Almost every day long lines of men could be seen marching 
after the fife and drum and led by some officer that had 
served in the war of 1 81 2. The Jackson party would erect 
their hickory poles and the Adams party their tall maple 
poles, and stands would be erected under their respective 
poles, and the best speakers in the country would be brought 
out, and each party would have a barbecue of a roast ox or 
half-a-dozen sheep about every week. At that time a good 
many who belonged to their respective parties had been 
soldiers in the war of 1812, and on their march would wear 

*Now the Hon. Frank W. Ross, of Salt Lake City, Utah. He was 
the youngest elective officer being a Lieutenant at the age of fifteen 
in the Federal Army, and served with great bravery and distinction in 
all the battles of his regiment during the entire war, from '61 to '65. 
C. K. O. 


their soldier's uniform which they wore in the army. My 
father had served as major tinder Gen. Brown, of ISTew 
York. I can remember very well how he looked, dressed 
in his military suit, with his sword buckled on and hanging 
by his side, wearing his soldier hat decorated with a large 
cockade on one side of his hat and with two feather plumes 
extending eight or ten inches above the crown of his hat, 
decked off with the red, white and blue all showing the 
rank he held in the army. He rode a large white horse, 
with a pistol holster swung across the pommel of his saddle, 
in which were two large horse-pistols with their flint-locks. 
So in marching in parade after the fife and drum he made 
a pretty fair military appearance. 

The election in Lewistown at that time was held at the 
log court house. They had no such thing in that part of 
the county at that time as saloons ; but the candidates and 
their friends had a different method of treating their 
friends and voters if they wished to have something to 
drink. A platform was erected some thirty feet long in 
front of the court house, upon which was placed barrels, 
kegs, demijohns and jugs, and the names of the candidates 
written on their respective vessels. I remember thatthe first 
vessel that Avas placed upon the platform was a thirty-gallon 
barrel of whisky, with the name of " ANDREW JACKSON " 
written upon it; and in a short time another barrel of the 
same size was placed by its side, with the name of " JOHN 
QUINCY ADAMS " written upon it in large letters. Then 
came the ten and five-gallon kegs ; then the demijohns and 
jugs, with the names of the candidates who had bought the 
liquor, and everybody was welcome to all they wished to 
drink. At that time whisky was selling at thirty-five cents 
a gallon by the barrel, or fifty cents a gallon at retail ; and it 
was a marvelous fact that after the election was over scarcely 
any person had been intoxicated during the day. At that 
time ballots were not used as at the present time, but each 
voter, after his name was registered, would call out the 
names of the candidates, one at a time, that he wished to 
vote for. There were no national issues at that time to 
divide the two parties, but each man ran on his own per- 


sonal popularity. The campaign was carried on with a 
great deal of severity and bitterness. Adams was accused 
of corruption and extravagance in his former administra- 
tion, and of being proud and selfish, and of being no friend 
of the poor and of the laboring man. On the other side 
Jackson was accused of every crime and offense and 
impropriety that ever a man was known to be 
guilty of. The most was made of his many 
duels, and hand-bills were issued and sent broad- 
cast over the country telling of his cruelty and bad 
character. An account was given of the six men he had 
ordered to be shot in the army for mutiny and desertion, 
and their coffins were pictiired out on the handbills. But 
the most cruel and malicious stories that were told about 
him were that he and his wife had lived together in open 
adultery before they were married. This story aroused 
more anger and bitter feeling against the Adams party than 
any other thing that had been told, for it was a falsehood, 
and his friends sternly resented that slander. Many a 
hard fist-fight took place between the friends of the two 
parties in consequence of that story. 

I was told at the time when I traveled through Tennes- 
see, in 1843, and by persons who had known Mrs. Rachel 
Jackson from the time that she was fifteen years old up to 
the time of her death, that there had never lived in the state 
of Tennessee a lady that stood higher or was more respected 
than Mrs. Jackson; that she was a pure and kind-hearted 
Christian lady. Those infamous falsehoods published about 
Gen. Jackson and his wife did more to arouse the indigna- 
tion of the whole state of Tennessee against Adams and in 
support of Jackson than anything else. When the election 
came off there was less than 3,000 votes cast for Mr. Adams 
in that state. Some of the towns cast their entire vote for 
Jackson. I was told a story of how a stranger had come 
into one of the towns about election time and put up at the 
hotel and took a walk through the town. He found a great 
many women on the streets, but scarcely a man could be 
seen. He came back to the hotel and enquired of the land- 
lord w r hv it was that so manv women were seen on the 


streets and no men ; and the landlord told him that the men 
had gone out of town to hunt a couple of criminals, and 
when the stranger wanted to know what great crime these 
two men had committed that the whole town had gone in 
pursuit of them, the landlord told him they had voted for 
Mr. Adams ! The people had been anxious to carry the 
place unanimously for Jackson, as many of the other towns 
had done, and the two rascals had spoiled the record, and 
the people were so indignant that they were hunting them 
so that they could tar and feather them, and the women 
were waiting on the streets anxious to see it done. But the 
men escaped to the woods and could not be found. 

It was a fact that Mrs. Rachel Jackson was married three 
times once to Lewis Roberts and twice to Glen. Jackson. 
The peculiar circumstances of her marriage to Gen. Jack- 
son caused a good deal of gossip. But when the circum- 
stances were understood there was nothing wrong about it, 
as I can show as I proceed with the narrative. 

I can remember the men who took an active part in the 
politics of Fulton county in the election of 1828, and will 
give the names of a few of the leaders. On the side of Mr. 
Adams there were Stephen Phelps and his sons Alexis, My- 
ron, Sumner and William : also Win. Proctor, Joel Wright, 
Stephen Dewey, Peter Wood, Ossian M. Ross and his 
brothers, Joseph, Thomas and John; Hugh R. Coulter, 
John McJSTeil and David W. Barnes. On the Jackson side 
were William Walters ( the hero of Rev. Wm. J. Rutledge's 
letters) and his brothers Daniel, Thomas and John, and 
an uncle, Abner Walters ; the Waughtels, John and Will- 
iam Totten, and John Barker. The Adams men were gen- 
erally from the East and the Jackson men from the South- 
ern states. There are only four of the men and boys I 
knew at that time who are now living, viz : Mason Eveland 
and Henry Warren, of Iowa, Henry Andrews, of Canton, 
and my brother, Leonard F. Ross, of Lewistown. 

In continuing my narrative of the trip I took through 
Tennessee at the time I visited Gen. Jackson I may allude 
to incidents that will not greatly interest the 


reader. But it will be remembered that I am writing 
these sketches chiefly for the benefit of my children, grand- 
children and great-grandchildren, so the reader will par- 
don these departures from the main theme of these 

So I will take up our line of travel from the time we bade 
Gen. Jackson goodby at the Hermitage and turned our 
horses' heads towards Knoxville. The first place we stop- 
ped at was Lebanon. I have read somewhere in divine his- 
tory something about the cedars of Lebanon, and when we 
drove into town we began to think we had found that place. 
Lebanon contained about 1,000 inhabitants, and was built 
in the middle of a large cedar grove. Part of the houses 
were built of logs and part were frame. The logs were 
all cedar and the frame houses were all built of cedar; 
the roofs were covered with cedar shingles and the fences 
and gates were all of cedar. So we concluded that Leb- 
anon was a very appropriate name for the town. 

We stopped over night at a hotel on the top of the Cum- 
berland mountains. I went out to the barn after supper 
to see how our horses had been cared for. This was my 
custom, as we had a long journey to make and a good deal 
depended upon the condition of our team. I asked the 
negro hostler how much corn he had fed the horses. He 
said he had given them six ears apiece. I told him that 
he should have fed them twice that amount, but he an- 
swered, " Massa, they are great big ears." I asked how 
large the ears were. He said that they were almost as long 
as his arm and as big around as his leg. Then I said I 
wanted to see some of that corn ; so he took me to the crib 
and I saw that the negro was not far out of the way, for 
they were the most wonderful ears of corn in size that I 
had ever seen. There was about as much feed in one ear as 
in two ears of common corn. I asked the landlord how 
it was that such large corn would grow on top of the Cum- 
berland mountains. He said that there was a dark sandy 
loam on the mountains just the kind of soil to produce 
large corn. So I went to the crib and selected one of the 
largest ears I could find, and shelled it, and packed it away 


in my satchel, intending to bring it home and try it on 
our Illinois soil, as I was at that time carrying on a large 
farm a half mile east of Havana in Mason county, i 
planted the corn by itself so that it would not get mixed 
with the other corn, and from that planting I raised sev- 
eral bushels. The next year I planted part of it and 
distributed the balance among some of my neighbor 
farmers, as I wanted to have it introduced all over the 
county. They gave it the name of the " Tennessee Mam- 
moth Corn." I am sure that after I commenced raising 
that corn that the yield to the acre was at least a third 
more than it had been with common corn. Afterwards 
many Fulton county farmers came over to M^ason county 
to get their seed corn. 

We finally arrived at Col. Churchwell' s with everything 
in good trim. Our horses had stood the trip excellently. 
Col. Churchwell and wife and about half a dozen negro 
servants were ready to meet us as they had heard that 
we were coming. We still had on hand some of the apples 
that Gen. Jackson had given us and we distributed them 
among the colonel's family and the servants, as they all 
wanted to taste the apples because they had come from 
Gen. Jackson's orchard. We delivered the messages the 
general had sent to Col. Churchwell and wife, and that 
led them both to tell us some marvelous stories about the 
general, for they had known him most all their lives. The 
colonel told us of a time that he was attending court in a 
neighboring town and Gen. Jackson was the presiding 
judge. A certain man had committed a crime, and a 
warrant had been placed in the hands of the sheriff, and 
he had summoned a half dozen men to assist him in mak- 
ing the arrest, for the man was a desperate character and 
was armed with several pistols and a bowie knife. The 
sheriff came into court and reported to the judge that the 
man could not be taken that he and his men could not 
afford to risk their lives with such a character. The judge 
then said to him, " Summons Andrew Jackson to assist 
in taking that man." The sheriff did so, and Jackson took 
his hat and walked out of the court house and across the 


street to where the man was surrounded by many friends. 
Judge Jackson walked up to him, put his hand on his 
shoulder, and said to him, " You are my prisoner ; you 
must go with me to the court house." The man made no 
resistance but walked deliberately to the court house where 
the judge took the pistols and knife from him and handed 
them to the sheriff. The man was asked afterwards why 
he did not resist Gen. Jackson as he had done the other 
men. He said he could see fight in the eyes of the judge, 
but could not see it in the eyes of the other men. 

Col. Church well's wife could also tell us of many cir- 
cumstances connected with the life of the general. She 
told us about what a time the minister had had with him 
to get him to agree to forgive his enemies when he was 
about to join the church. He told the minister that he 
was willing to forgive all his political enemies, but his 
enemies that had been guilty of defaming his private 
character and his wife, and of lying about his mother, 
he did not 4;hink he could forgive. But the minister 
told him that if he expected to have his sins forgiven he 
would have to forgive his enemies, and pointed him to 
many passages of scripture that treated on that subject. 
So the general finally agreed to forgive his enemies and 
was received as a member of the Presbyterian church. 
It took place at the little brick church near the Hermitage 
that he had built for his wife soon after they were married. 
I was told that Jackson and his wife were regular attend- 
ants at church while she was living, and that he was al- 
ways a friend to all religious institutions, and that all 
his ancestors, including his mother, were Presbyterians. 
I will quote a few sentences from the biography of Peter 
Cartwright to show what the old pioneer Methodist 
preacher had to say about him, as follows : 

" Gen. Jackson was certainly a very extraordinary man. 
He was no doubt in his prime of life a very wicked man, 
but he always showed a great respect for the Christian 
religion and the feelings of religious people, especially 
ministers of the gospel. I will here relate a little inci- 
dent that shows his respect for religion. I had preached 


one Sabbath near the Hermitage, and in company with 
several gentlemen and ladies went by special invitation 
to dine with the general. Among the company there was 
a young sprig of a lawyer from Nashville, of very ordi- 
nary intellect, and was trying very hard to make an infidel 
of himself. As I was the only preacher present the young 
lawyer kept pushing his conversation on me in order to 
get "into an argument. I tried to evade an argument, in 
the first place considering it a breach of good manners 
to interrupt the social conversation of the company, and, 
in the second place, I plainly saw that his head was much 
softer than his heart, and that there were no laurels to 
be won by vanquishing or demolishing such a combatant ; 
I persisted in evading an argument. This seemed to in- 
spire the young man with more confidence in himself, for 
my evasiveness he construed into fear. I saw Gen. Jack- 
son's eyes strike fire as he sat by and heard the thrusts 
made at the Christian religion. At length the young 
lawyer asked me this question : 

" ' Mr. Cartwright, do you believe there is any such 
place as hell ?' 

"<Yes, sir; I do.' 

" To which he responded : 

" ' Well, I thank God I have too much good sense to 
believe any such thing.' 

" I was pondering in my mind whether I would answer 
him or not when Gen. Jackson for the first time broke 
into the conversation, and, directing his words to the 
young man, said with great earnestness: 

" ' Well, sir, I thank God that there is such a place of 
torment as hell.' 

" This sudden answer, made with great earnestness, 
seemed to astonish the youngster, and he exclaimed: 

" ' Why, Gen. Jackson, what do you want of such a 
place of torment as hell ?' 

" To which the general replied, as quick as lightning : 
' To put such a rascal as you in that opposes and 
villifies the Christian religion !' ' 

After a cordial welcome to myself and my two young 


comrades we had a delightful time going with Col. Church- 
well over his splendid farm of 500 acres, located two miles 
north of Knoxville, Tennessee. His negroes cultivated 
about 300 acres, and the balance was in timber and seeded 
down to blue grass. He was engaged in raising fine- 
blooded stock. He had a fine dwelling house and ten or 
twelve frame houses on his place that his slave families 
occupied. He had fine barns and stables, and all his 
buildings and improvements were very good. He had 
about forty slaves of both sexes and of all ages. He was 
good and humane to his slaves and would never permit 
any of them to be sold to 1 go to the southern plantations. 
His nephew was his overseer, and he. told me that he very 
seldom had to punish a slave. Col. Churchwell was a 
member of the Methodist church, and his wife was a Pres- 
byterian. It was his habit to hold family prayers morn- 
ing and evening and he asked a blessing at his table. He 
and' his wife were regular attendants at church. Some- 
times both would go to the Methodist church and then 
to the Presbyterian church. Many of the slaves were 
church members, some belonging to one church and some 
to the other. Both Col. Churchwell and his wife believed 
that slavery was a divine institution, and that there was 
no harm in owning slaves, and the only harm there was 
about it was the abuse sometimes shown them by their 
masters. There was a very radical difference of opinion 
among my wife's relatives in regard to slavery, for on 
her father's side I have never known any of them to buy 
or sell a slave, although many of them were able to do so; 
but on her mother's ( Churchwell' s) side I never knew 
any of them who would not buy slaves if they had the 
money to do so. 

The colonel and his good wife, " Aunt Moody," as we 
called her, did everything in their power to make us have 
a good and happy time. Their southern hospitality was 
manifested in many ways. 

As stated in my first letter, the colonel and his wife 
were in the-habit of visiting relatives in Illinois every two 
or three years; and I think the last time they came was 


in 1856, when they visited my family at Vermont, Fulton 
county. Mrs. Chuchwell was one of the kindest, best 
women I have ever known. She became very much at- 
tached to our oldest boy, Frank, who was then about half 
grown. She wanted Frank to promise her that when he 
was grown that he would go to Tennessee and visit his 
old Aunt Moody. She promised him that she would have 
the negroes dance for him, as she did when his father 
and uncles visited her, and would make him have a grand 
and good time. 

Well, as time rolled away the boy did go and visit his 
old aunt, but he did not go in just the way she expected 
him to come, and he took more company with him than 
his old aunt was in the habit of entertaining, and he did 
not wait until he was grown, as his aunt had told him 
to do. 

When the civil war came on and an appeal was made for 
volunteers, the boy caught the war fever and had it very 
badly. Because he was so young we did all in our power 
to persuade him from becoming a soldier ; but at last his 
parents gave their consent and he was enrolled as a member 
of the old 84th regiment Illinois volunteers, which was 
made up from men from Fulton and McDonough coun- 
ties under Col. Waters of Macomb. The regiment was at 
once ordered to go to east Tennessee, and singular as it may 
seem took up their headquarters right on Col. Churchwell's 
fine farm. They certainly could not have found a better lo- 
cality for a military post if they had searched the state 
over, for the place was well watered with springs and 
creeks, with plenty of timber, and with an abundance of 
houses, barns and stables, and everything that a regiment 
of men could desire for their comfort and convenience. 
Col. Waters took, possession of their fine old mansion for 
headquarters of himself and staff, though he was generous 
enough to let Mrs. Clmrchwell retain a few of the rooms. 
Col. Churchwell had died about the commencement of the 
war, and his only son, William, was an officer in the con- 
federate army, and was killed before the war closed. Mrs. 
C., with her nephew as overseer, and her negroes, were run- 


ning her farm when the regiment came down upon them 
like a cloud of 3ansas locusts would upon a fertile field, 
and with almost as great destruction. It was a terrible or- 
deal for the old lady to see her beautiful place desecrated, 
her fine house occupied by soldiers and the soldiers' 
tents spread over the fields, and her fine carriage 
horses taken for cavalry horses, and her large Nor- 
man horses, which her negroes needed so badly to work the 
farm, taken to haul some old cannon around over the coun- 
try; and when she would remonstrate against such treat- 
ment the officers would tell her that it was a military neces- 
sity. And when her corn and hay would be taken from 
her barns, and her rails burned, and her dairy and chicken 
house looted, and her cows milked by the " Yankee blue- 
coats," then she would lay her grievances before Col. 
Waters, and he would try to appease her wrath and indig- 
nation by telling her that it was a military necessity. 
These indignities caused her at last to express her mind 
quite freely as to what she thought of them ; so they gave 
her the name of " old rebel," for she was very bitter against 
the whole union army. 

One day the old lady asked Col. Waters where those fel- 
lows came from that had settled down upon her premises, 
and he told her they were from Illinois. She then told 
him she had relatives in Illinois by the names of Kirkpat- 
rick and Ross, and wanted to know of the colonel if he had 
any soldiers by either name. The colonel told her there 
was a young lad in the regiment whose name was Frank 
Ross. She said she would like to see him; so the colonel 
sent one of his officers to hunt Frank up, and after a con- 
siderable search he was found in one of the camps frying 
chickens. He was told there was an old rebel woman up 
at headquarters who wanted to see him. Frank knew noth- 
ing about whose farm it was they were camping on ; so he 
went to the house without any idea as to whom he would 
meet. But when he came face to face with the " old rebel 
woman," lo and behold, it was his old Aunt Moody Church- 
well the good old aunt that had invited him to come and 
visit her, and had promised that when he came she would 


have the negroes dance and sing for him! But here he 
was, with a lot of companions, desecrating and wrecking 
her fine farm and frying her chickens ! 

But when she saw that he was really Frank, the kind 
and noble impulses of her heart came to her as in times 
past, and she showed him the utmost kindness, and told 
Col. Waters that if the boy should be wounded or get sick 
to send him to her house and that she would see that he was 
well taken care of. 

Now 1 must go back and give a sketch of our visit at Col. 
Churchwell's, where we remained two weeks, visiting him 
and my wife's relatives in Tennessee. Before starting 
home the colonel wanted us to have a good time, so he gave 
us two grand diversions. The first was a negro corn-shuck- 
ing and the other was a negro dance, or, as they called it, 
a "negro shindig." If any Northern man ever traveled in 
the South in slave days and missed a negro corn-shucking 
or a negro dance, he missed a good deal. The pile of corn 
was forty feet long, eight feet wide and four or five feet 
high. They divided it off into two piles and drove a 
stake in the middle, then chose sides and went 
at it with a rush. The side that came out last 
in shucking its pile had to furnish the egg-nogg 
to treat the whole company. As soon as the negroes 
commenced shucking the corn, working like beavers, they 
also commenced singing their plantation songs, and they 
sang with so much force and power that they could be heard 
about a mile. While the negroes were thus engaged their 
wives were preparing for them a bountiful supper. I do 
not think I ever saw a happier set of people than they were. 
The colonel had on his negro quarters one house with a 
large room in it that he said his negroes used to hold meet/- 
ings in on Sundays, when some white or black preacher 
would come out from Knoxville and preach for them, and 
they used the same room to hold their dances in. His rule 
was to let them have a dance the last Saturday night in each 
month. He said it encouraged them and made them better 
servants. So one evening before we came away he gath- 


ered the negroes together, men, women, boys and girls, to 
show us how they could dance. He had one old negro, 
Ned, who played the violin for them. He told us that he 
was seventy years old, and had played on "de fiddle" since 
he was a boy, and seemed to be very proud of his skill. 
The music and the dancing were both grand, and we looked 
on with a great deal of delight. 

But the time had come for our departure homeward. I 
had sold the horses and carriage that we had taken with us, 
and we rode home some of the horses I bought of Ool. 
Churchwell. We bought fourteen head horses, mares, 
jacks and jennies. We traveled the first day thirty miles 
and stopped over night at Arthur Kirkpatrick's, a brother 
of my wife's father. He was keeping a country store and 
running a farm. He had some negroes hired to work on 
the farm, but told us that he would never buy or sell a slave. 
He had known Gen. Jackson for several years and told us 
many stories about him ; in fact, we could hardly meet an 
old settler in that state but who could tell us more or less 
about him. 

We came home a different route from the one we went 
out on. It was nearer, but not so good a road. We came 
back through Kentucky and through the grand prairies of 
eastern Illinois. Sometimes we found it twenty miles be- 
tween the houses. We struck the road we had gone out on at 

On our way home we passed Major Newton Walker and 
Hugh Lamaster, who had been to Kentucky and bought a 
herd of Durham cattle. I think they were the first blooded 
cattle ever brought into Fulton county. When we reached 
home I found my wife and little boy, Ossian, anxiously 
awaiting our arrival, for we had been gone six weeks, and 
it was a time of joy and rejoicing when we got home, for 
I had never been away from home before to exceed a day 
since he was born. And when I opened my satchel and 
took out the six large apples that Gen. Jackson had given 
me to take home to my wife and boy (as mentioned in my 
second letter), our little boy hardly knew whether they 
were to eat or play with, for he had never seen an apple be- 


fore. At that time there was not a bearing orchard in 
Mason county. A few orchards had been planted out, but 
none of them had commenced to bear. But he soon found 
that they were good to eat, and his little teeth went for them 
with a vengeance. I told him that the apples came from 
Gen. Jackson's orchard that Jackson had sent them to 
Ossian and his mother. He had just commenced to learn 
to talk, and he learned to prounoune the words "Jackson" 
and "apples " a little before any other words, and after the 
apples were gone he would often climb up in my lap and 
put his little arms around my neck and say, "Papa, go to 
Jackson and get more apples for Ossian." But the apples 
that came from the orchard of the old hero were the first 
and the last that he ever had the opportunity to put his little 
teeth into, for in six weeks after my return he was taken 
from us by that cruel disease, the croup. He was eighteen 
months old when he died. He was unusually smart and 
bright for one of his age, and his death was a terrible be- 
reavement to us, for our very hearts and lives were wrapped 
up in our little boy. He was our first child, and no tongue 
could express the grief and sorrow that filled our hearts 
when he was taken away. Another incident about the 
child : On the first visit of Col. Churchwell and wife to us 
in 1842, the little fellow was about six months old. Mrs. 
Churchwell had a bright, new half-dollar bearing the date 
"1842." So she got a hole drilled through the rim of it, 
put a ribbon through it, and hung it around little Ossian's 
neck, saying it would be a keepsake from her and would 
show the year the boy was born and the year of their first 
visit to us. After the lad died his mother laid the coin 
away, intending to keep it as a sacred memorial as long as 
she lived, and did keep it for almost forty years. But it 
was stolen by a servant. His mother would have rather 
lost a $20 gold piece than that sacred coin. 

After we got back from our trip I called on Father Kirk- 
patrick to give him a few tales of our trip and to tell him 
about his brothers and sisters, and the great number of 
nephews and nieces we had met out there, and how anxious 
they were for him and his wife to go out and make them a 


visit, and of the kind invitation Gen. Jackson had sent, that 
if he came to Tennessee again to come and see him. This 
produced a desire in the old gentleman's heart that he 
would like to go back to his native state where he had spent 
his boyhood. So a year after he secured a fine, large horse 
and carriage and he and his wife made the trip from Can- 
ton, 111., to Knoxville, Tenn., and back without any mishap 
or accident. He went by the Hermitage, but learned be- 
fore he got there that the old General had died a few weeks 
before. But he stopped at the grave with reverence for the 
old hero with whom he had fought many battles against 
the Indians ; and we may be sure that he paid to his friend 
and leader the tribute of his tears. 



comes the story of how it happened that Jackson 
was married twice to the same lady. I will give the cir- 
cumstances surrounding this remarkable case, as I learned 
them from the people of Tennessee when I was there in 
1843,. and from his biographies. It was the one event in 
his long, noble and useful life that gave his enemies a 
chance to blast his good name and that of his pure and love- 
ly wife These slanders stirred the tiger in him until noth- 
ing but human blood would quench his hate. They were 
the cause of most of his many encounters and duels. It is 
said that for thirty years he kept his pistols ready for in- 
stant use in defense of his wife's good name. 

Jackson's wife was a daughter of John Donelson, an 
old Virginia farmer, who settled five miles from Nashville 
in 1780. eight years before Jackson came to Tennessee. 


Donelson had a family of sons and daughters, and was a 
man of considerable wealth. He was engaged in raising 
stock and horses. But one year there came a great drouth 
that destroyed crops and pastures, and he was compelled 
to move his family and stock to Mercer county, Ky., 200 
miles away, where the drouth had been less severe. While 
here his daughter Rachel (afterwards Mrs. Jackson) was 
married to Lewis Robards, who lived with his widowed 
mother, who at that time was keeping a boarding house; 
and he took his bride to live with his mother. Boarding 
with her were some young men, and it was not long until 
Robards, being of a jealous disposition, and his bride being 
very handsome, sprightly and jovial, became very jealous 
of one of the young men and behaved in such an ungentle- 
manly manner that her indignation was aroused and she 
wrote to one of her brothers at Nashville to come and take 
her home her father and family having returned there. 
And so she left Robards ; but she had only been at home 
a few weeks when her father, while out surveying, 
was killed by the Indians. But Mrs. Robards continued 
to live with her mother, and in about six months her hus- 
band relented and made many apologies for his conduct 
and begged her to come back and live with him. This 
she consented to do on his promise that he would there- 
after treat her with the confidence and respect due a wife ; 
but she refused to return to Kentucky, as it was sparsely 
settled and the Indians were very troublesome. So in- 
stead of her going to Kentucky he came to live with her at 
Nashville at her mother's house. While they were all 
living together Gen. Jackson made his first appearance 
at Nashville. Mrs. Donelson occupied one of the largest 
houses in the place and was keeping boarders, and it so 
happened that Jackson became one of her boarders with 
another young lawyer from South Carolina. And here 
Gen. Jackson first met the charming bride who was to 
figure so prominently thereafter in his own life. They 
could not very well help getting acquainted while they 
were living in the same house and eating at the same table. 
It was not long until the green-eyed monster again seized 


Robards, and this time it was Gen. J ackson who he thought 
was paying too much attention to his wife. The result 
was very scandalous actions on the part of Robards. It 
grieved the wife terribly, and Gen. Jackson seriously re- 
monstrated with Robards against his cruel and unjust 
conduct towards his wife and himself, and Jackson at 
once sought another boarding house. In great indignation 
the wife again left her husband and took up her abode 
with a married sister. Robards soon returned to his 
former home in Kentucky, and commenced proceedings 
to secure a divorce. The procedure in such cases at that 
time will interest the reader. I copy from one of Jack- 
son's biographies some of the details : 

" In Virginia in the olden time if a man convinced of 
his wife's infidelity desired to be divorced from her he 
was required to procure from the legislature an act author- 
izing an investigation of the charge before a jury and pro- 
nouncing the marriage bond dissolved, providing the jury- 
shall find her guilty. In the winter of 1790-91 Lewis 
Robards of Kentucky, originally part of Virginia, the 
husband of Rachel Donelson, appeared before the leisla- 
ture of Virginia with a declaration to the effect that his 
wife Rachel had deserted him and had lived and was living 
in adultery with another man, to wit, Andrew Jackson, an 
attorney at law, whereupon the legislature of Virginia 
passed an act entitled ' An act concerning the marriage of 
Lewis Robards,' of which the following is a copy : 

" ' Be it enacted by the general assembly that it shall 
and may be lawful for Lewis Robards to sue out of the 
office of the supreme court of the district of Kentucky a 
writ against Rachel Robards, which writ shall be framed 
by the clerk and express the nature of the case, and shall 
be published for eight weeks in the Kentucky Gazette, 
whereupon the plaintiff may file his declaration in the 
same cause, and the defendant may appear and plead to 
issue, in which case, or if she does not appear within two 
months after such publication, it shall be set for trial by 
the clerk on some day in the succeeding court, but may 


for good cause shown to the court be continued until the 
succeeding term.' ' 

Now after the legislature had passed this act Lewis Ro- 
bards did go on with a suit against his wife for a divorce, 
and the charge alleged was of desertion and the living in 
adultery with Andrew Jackson. The legal notice was 
given in the Gazette, and Mrs. Robards had read it, but 
she did not attend court or make any defense as she wished 
him to get the divorce so she could get rid of him. She 
could have proven by scores of witnesses in Nashville that 
his allegations were false, for all this time she was living 
with her mother or sister, while Jackson was living at a 

Some months after this a company of Nashville people 
was made up to take a trip down the river to Natchez. 
Among these were Col. Stark and wife, friends of the 
Donelson family, and Mrs. Robards was asked to go with 
them, and she did so to visit some friends she had in 
Natchez. While there she heard the news that Robards 
had secured a divorce from her. As soon as Jackson 
heard the news he took a steamboat for Natchez and mar- 
ried Mrs. Robards and took her back to Nashville. The 
marriage was on a license and in due form of law. After 
they had lived happily together for six months the aston- 
ishing word came to them that the divorce had just been 
granted, that the first report was a mistake. It was really 
about two years after Robards had commenced divorce 
proceedings before the divorce was granted. At that time 
there were no mails being carried between Hardin county, 
Kentucky, and Nashville, and it was difficult to get news 
from one section to another. Gen. and Mrs. Jackson were 
greatly shocked when this news came to them. There 
was but one thing to do. All their friends agreed to that. 
They must procure another license and be married the 
second time according to the due forms of law. This was 
done at once. It did not affect their high social position 
in Nashville, for all the people knew they had done no 
intentional wrong. Thereafter inside of six years Gen. 
Jackson was elected one of the trustees of the Davidson 


University with the most eminent ministers and other citi- 
zens as his colleagues; then as a member of Tennessee's 
first constitutional convention ; then to the lower house of 
Congress; then to the United States Senate, and finally 
to be a judge of the Supreme Court of Tennessee. All 
these high honors and responsibilities came to him within 
six years after his marriage to Mrs. Robards, and without 
protest or criticism as to that act. 

It was not until the opening of the vile presidential 
campaign of 1828 that politicians and the newspapers 
opened the vials of scandal and detraction upon the old 
hero and his pure and noble wife. The old records were 
searched and the worst possible construction put upon 
every act. As I have said in a former article, there were 
no great national issues in that campaign, but the men 
were voted for on their records, and this vile abuse was 
resorted to defeat the old hero of many wars. 

I will now tell of my visit to the battle-ground of New 
Orleans, where Gen. Jackson defeated Major Edward 
Packingham on the 8th of January, 1815, and will de- 
scribe its appearance, and give some of the circumstances of 
the battle as I gleaned them from citizens who lived there 
in New Orleans at the time. 

It was in the fall of 1856 that, with my wife and little 
boy Joseph, I took a trip by river to New Orleans, and 
thence by the gulf to Texas. We took a steamer at Brown- 
ing on the Illinois river to St. Louis, and there took an- 
other steamer for the long river trip down the Mississippi 
to New Orleans. We stopped there a week, and put up at 
the Planters' Hotel. I found that the landlord was an old 
hotel keeper and well acquainted with the older residents of 
that country, and he found for me a man that was in the 
city when the battle was fought, to go with me and show me 
the battlefield, and explain the circumstances connected 
with it. The battlefield was then about five miles from the 
city, and hacks were running there every day at fifty cents 
for the trip. So under this guide we had a good view of 
the whole situation. A ditch had been dug and breast- 


works thrown tip from the Mississippi river a distance of 
a mile to a low, swampy land. At the time of the battle 
the ditch contained five feet of water, and the breastworks 
were from five to six feet high, made from the dirt that 
was taken out of the ditch. There was also many cotton 
bales used in building the fortification. When I was 
there the greater part of the breastworks had been leveled 
off and the ditch filled up ; but still there was enough left 
to show its location and how it had been constructed. It 
appeared that Gen. Jackson had used a great deal of skill 
and ingenuity in constructing the fortifications to shield 
his men from the fire of their enemies. On the back side 
of the breastworks a platform of earth had been con- 
structed a foot high and five feet wide, upon which the men 
could step to fire over the works and then step down out 
of range of the enemies' bullets to reload their guns. 

From the best information I could get from old citizens 
and other sources, I have no doubt that in this battle the 
British forces numbered about 7,000 men, while Jackson's 
army numbered 5,000. Gen. Jackson had declared martial 
law at ~New Orleans because of the many enemies in the 
city, and he had conscripted some thousand Frenchmen, 
Creoles, etc., that knew very little about military matters. 

One singular thing happened at this battle that is worth 
recording. Packingham had caused to be constructed a 
supply of ladders and plank platforms to be used in cross- 
ing the ditch and climbing the earthworks to Jackson's 
stronghold ; but when the battle commenced and Packing- 
ham made his assault and came to the ditch, they had for- 
gotten to bring along those platforms and ladders. So the 
only way they had of crossing the ditch was for one man to 
take another on his shoulders and wade through the water 
that was five feet deep. While they were crossing the ditch 
in this absurd manner hundreds of them were shot down, 
and the forces repulsed. A second assault was then made, 
but with no better success. Then Gen. Packingham made 
a third attempt to rally his men, leading them himself ; but 
as he came near the ditch he was shot off his horse, one ball 
going through his arm and another piercing his thigh, and 


his horse was killed under him. The British army found 
it impossible to endure such a fire, that had slaughtered 
them by hundreds at a time, so they gave up the fight and 
fled. It was found after the battle that over 2,000 British 
soldiers lay prostrate on the battlefield 500 dead and 
1,500 wounded. Jackson's loss was six men killed and 
seven wounded. It was the greatest victory ever achieved 
in the United States, when we take into consideration the 
fact the battle was fought in less than an hour. 

I can remember away back in the year 1828, when Gen. 
Jackson ran for president, that one of the means resorted 
to to thrill and inspire the hearts of the people was the war 
songs. At that time they had no brass bands or French 
horns. The only martial music was the fife and drum, sup- 
plemented with patriotic songs. One of these was called 
"The Battle of New Orleans." It described the parts that 
the Kentucky and Tennessee boys had taken in the battle, 
and when sung by a dozen or more strong voices it had a 
most animating effect on the old soldiers and the crowds of 
people that would gather to listen to them. 

When I was on the battlefield I was anxious to get some 
relics to carry home with me. While trying to get a spade 
to hunt for bullets, etc., I was told that the ground had 
been dug over so often that I would find nothing. But I 
met a Dutchman who had many relics of the battle. He 
had three bullets which he called the "Packingham Balls," 
which he claimed to have found near the spot where Gen. 
Packingham was slain. One was a rifle ball, one a large 
musket ball and the other a grape shot about the size of a 
black walnut. His supposition was that the rifle ball was 
the one that had gone through Packingham's arm, that the 
musket ball was the one that had gone through his thigh 
and that the large ball had killed his horse. I believed that 
he was an honest Dutchman and did find the balls on the 
battlefield, though I did not take much stock in the tale 
about the balls killing Packingham, although it might have 
happened. But I thought it would be a good story to tell 
when I got home, so I paid $2 for the balls. 

After remaining a week at New Orleans we took boat 


over the gulf for Galveston, Texas, where we remained for 
a few days, and then went down to Port Lavaca, where I 
bought a span of ponies and a light carriage, and spent the 
winter traveling over the country. If a storm, or what is 
called in Texas a "norther," came up, we would stop a few 
days at some town or farm house until it was over. It so 
happened that when we got to Austin, the capital of the 
state, on the 8th of January, we found the people were hold- 
ing a grand demonstration in honor of Jackson and the vic- 
tory of New Orleans. I learned that the 8th of January 
was celebrated as a regular holiday in most of the towns and 
cities in the state. 

Here in California the 8th of January has been observed 
as a public holiday since the state was settled. Here in 
the City of Oakland we had one of the grandest celebrations 
January 8th, 1897, that has ever taken place in the city, in 
honor of Gen. Jackson and his great victory. It was the 
occasion of the dedication of a fine school house that we had 
just completed at a cost of $200,000. We were not able 
to procure a hickory pole large enough to bear the national 
flag, as hickory timber does not grow wild here as it does in 
Illinois. But it happened that a family came out from 
Illinois several years ago and brought with them some hick- 
ory nuts, one of which was planted in her father's door 
yard by a little daughter, and it grew to be a fine tree. On 
the day of the dedication the young lady presented this tree 
to the school board, and they planted it on the school 
grounds in honor of "Old Hickory." 

Many eloquent speeches were made on this occasion, but 
one of the speakers, after a grand eulogy of Gen. Jackson, 
declared that after he was elected president he turned every 
whig out of office and put a democrat in his place, and that 
no whig could hold an office under his administration. It 
was a great mistake. I remember that my father, who was 
a strong whig, and did all he could for the election of 
Adams, soon after the election of 1828 moved to Havana, 
Illinois, when Jackson appointed him postmaster at that 
place. He also appointed Abraham Lincoln, another ar- 
dent whig, to be postmaster at New Salem, in the place of 


Samuel Hill, who was a democrat. I knew of many other 
cases in which Gen. Jackson had appointed whigs to office. 
The great question with him was, "Is he honest, and is 
he capable ? " which had more to do with his appointments 
than the question of politics. 

The many high and important offices that Gen. Jackson 
was elected to and appointed to, and some of them at a time 
when he was quite a young man, will show the confidence 
and the high regard in which he was held, not only by his 
own state, but by the whole nation, for he was elected 
State's Attorney, Judge of the Circuit Court, and also 
Judge of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, a member of 
Congress and a United States Senator, all before he was 
thirty-one years of age. In 1824 he ran for president, his 
opponents being John Quincy Adams, W. H. Crawford and 
Henry Clay, and out of 261 electoral votes cast he got 99, 
Adams 84, Crawford 47 and Clay 37, and in the popular 
vote he got a majority over Adams of 50,551 votes. Neith- 
er of the candidates having received a majority of all the 
votes, it was carried into the House, and by some maneuv- 
ering Adams was counted in and Jackson counted out. In 
1828 he ran again for president against John Quincy 
Adams, receiving 178 of the electoral votes to Adams 83, 
and a majority over Adams of the popular vote of 158,134. 
He ran again in 1832 against Henry Clay, Jackson receiv- 
ing 218 of the electoral votes and Clay 49, and a majority 
of the popular vote of 157,313. 

I must close these sketches of Gen. Jackson with a brief 
review of his childhood. I have taken great pains to get 
these interesting facts in a reliable form. 

Gen. Jackson's parents were Scotch-Irish, coming from 
the north of Ireland. His father's name was Andrew 
Jackson ; his mother's, Elizabeth Hutchinson. When they 
came to America they had two sons, Hugh and Robert. 
Mrs. J. had three sisters who came with them to America. 
They settled in the Waxhaw settlement on Waxhaw creek, 
named for an Indian tribe that occupied that country. It 
is now Union county, North Carolina. They settled on 


a farm as a renter (this was in 1765), and within two 
years the father died. The mother then moved 
in with her brother-in-law, George McCamis, and 
in a week after the father's death Andrew was 
born, March 15, 1767. In two months she went with 
her children to live with another brother-in-law, Thomas 
Crawford, who had married another sister of hers. This 
sister was an invalid, and Mrs. Jackson took charge of the 
family and lived there most of the time until her death 
fifteen years later. Her son Hugh worked for his uncle, 
McCamis, until the breaking out of the Revolutionary war, 
when he enlisted as a patriot and soon died of the hardships 
and privations of army life. Her remaining sons, Robert 
and Andrew, were not old enough to go into the army, but 
were called into the service, with many other boys of the 
settlement, to guard and protect their homes and property 
against the British soldiers who were making raids upon 
them, destroying property, stealing horses, etc. All the 
older men had gone to war, leaving the women and boys to 
stand guard about their homes. While Robert and Andrew 
and other boys were thus engaged a company of red-coats 
came upon them and took them prisoners and marched 
them off to Camden, a British garrison forty miles away. 
After they had been prisoners a few weeks, Mrs. Jackson, 
who was a brave and resolute woman, determined that she 
would go to Camden and try to get her sons released. So 
she set out for the British garrison on horseback and alone. 
When she got to the fort she found her two boys in a terri- 
ble predicament. They had had an encounter with one of 
the British officers and had been cruelly treated. The 
officer had ordered Andrew to clean and black his boots, 
which he refused to do, telling the officer that although he 
was a prisoner of war, he would not black his boots. The 
officer struck him on the head with his sword, when Andrew 
threw up his hands to guard off the blow he received a cut 
on his arm, and also on the side of his head, the scars of 
which he carried to his grave. The officer then ordered 
Robert to clean and black his boots ; he also refused to do 
it, and the officer knocked him down and beat him terribly. 


So when Mrs. Jackson found her boys in prison, she found 
that in addition to their wounds that both had taken the 
small-pox, which was raging at a terrible rate in the prison. 
She went to the chief officer and plead for their deliverance, 
and succeeded in getting them released. She then procured 
another horse, and they started home on their forty-mile 
ride. When they got within an hour's ride of their home 
there came up a dreadful rain that drenched them to the 
skin. It very greatly aggravated the small-pox, and Robert 
died a few days after she had gotten him home. Andrew 
barely escaped death by the kind and careful nursing of 
his mother. 

Two months after word came to the settlement from 
Charleston, S. C., which was then in possession of the Brit- 
ish army, that great distress and suffering and sickness 
were prevailing among the American prisoners there. A 
number of the prisoners were from the Waxhaw settlement, 
and among them were several of her nephews. Mrs. Jack- 
son was prevailed upon to go with two other ladies to 
Charleston with clothing, medicines, etc., for the prisoners, 
and also to secure, if possible, their release or exchange. 
So she started with her two friends on the long journey of 
150 miles, on horseback ; and when they got there they 
found that the prisoners were confined on a ship, and that 
the ship fever was prevailing among them. So after min- 
istering to the wants of the soldiers and doing what they 
could for their relief, they started on their journey home. 
They stopped one night at a farm house, when Mrs. Jack- 
son was taken down with the ship fever contracted while on 
the ship, and growing worse, died in a few days, and was 
buried in that locality. It was sad news to take back to An- 
drew and their friends. Nothing could be done about bring- 
ing back her remains, because it was a long distance, and the 
weather was hot, and besides that they were poor people. 
Andrew, at the time of her death, was fifteen years old, and 
his father, mother, brothers and sisters were all dead. But 
he continued to live with his uncle, Thomas Crawford, and 
attended the school in the log school house. The branches 
taught were reading, writing, geography and arithmetic. 


His mother had often spoken of her wish to educate him for 
a Presbyterian minister, and would have tried to do so if 
she had lived. He often spoke of his good, Christian 
mother, and with much sorrow of her sad death and burial, 
for she sacrificed her life for others. 

When Gen. Jackson was a member of Congress the first 
time he employed two men to go and see if they could find 
his mother's grave, and if so, to remove her body to the 
place where his father was buried. But the men could not 
find her grave. There was no stone to mark the spot, and 
the country had undergone many changes, so that there was 
no clue to her burial place. It was all the loving and loyal 
son could do. 

When he was a candidate for the presidency in 1828, 
and every vile thing that could be hatched up was told about 
him, it was said that his wife came into his room one day 
when he was reading a newspaper, and found him in tears. 
On her inquiry about what the trouble was, he showed her 
a paragraph in the newspaper stating that his mother had 
been a washer-woman and filled a pauper's grave. He said 
to his wife : 

" I can defend your character and mine ; but when they 
assail my devoted mother, it almost breaks my heart." 

There was one grand and noble trait of character in the 
General that drew people to him with hooks of steel. I was 
told by men who had been with him in the army how kind 
and considerate he was to his soldiers. In one of their long 
marches from Natchez to Nashville, a distance of 500 miles 
through a wilderness country, the officers, of course, were 
on horseback, while the soldiers were afoot. Often the Gen- 
eral would fall back to the rear to look after the sick and 
disabled soldiers, and it was common for him to dismount 
and place some sick or lame soldier on his horse, while he 
trudged along on foot with the men day after day through 
the miry road, gay and cheerful, inspiring his men with 
his splendid courage and unselfishness. It was on this long 
and dreadful march that he got the name of "Hickory." 
In the first place one of the soldiers remarked : " The gen- 
oral is tough." Then another said: "He is as tough as 


hickory." Then they commenced to call him " Hickory 
Jackson/' and as he advanced in age, they applied to him 
the name " Old Hickory," and the honored name followed 
him to his death. 

In tracing the life of Gen. Jackson we find many things 
to admire. In the first place he was born into the world 
with a good, strong constitution, with good common-sense, 
and with a good back-hone, so that he was always ready to 
stand up for the rights of the people. But the great and 
crowning glory of his life was his grand and glorious vic- 
tory at New Orleans with his Kentucky and Tennessee 
militia, over the renowned Major-General Sir Edward 
Packingham of the British army with his chosen and well- 
drilled soldiers. ISTo doubt the General, in looking over that 
battlefield, strewn with the bodies of 2,000 enemies slain 
and wounded, while his loss was but five killed and seven 
wounded, must have felt something of exultation over the 
foe that had so cruelly treated him and his brothers and 
caused the death of his beloved mother. 

General Jackson's parents were Scotch-Irish Presbyteri- 
ans, and he inherited their reverence for religion and for 
ministers. He was always a generous contributor to the 
church and religious institutions. Previous to his wife's 
death he gave her a solemn promise that he would unite 
with the church and live a Christian's life. This promise 
he complied with about five years before his death. He 
united with the Presbyterian church, and was asked to ac- 
cept the office of ruling elder, but declined the office. He 

" I am too young in the church for such an office. My 
countrymen," he said, " have given me high honors, but I 
should esteem the office of ruling elder in the church of 
Jesus Christ a far higher honor than any I have ever re- 

He was strongly attached to his slaves, and in his will he 
distributed them among his wife's relatives, so that they 
should not be sold outside the family. But the time came 
for him to die. His faculties were clear and bright up to 


the hour of his death. He called his family and servants 
about his bed and said he wanted to meet them all in 
Heaven, black and white. He said he was ready and pre- 
pared to go, that death was only the dark pathway opening 
into a blessed and endless life. The funeral sermon was 
preached by Rev. Dr. Edgar, of Nashville, from the text, 
" These are they which came out of great tribulation and 
washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb." It 
was the largest funeral ever known in Nashville, except 
that of his beloved wife. 

This country has had few men honored and beloved by 
the masses of the people as was Gen. Jackson. For many 
long years will his noble deeds and sacrifices and his sacred 
memory be cherished deep down in the hearts of a grateful 
country and a generous people. 

peter Cartwrigbt 



When Peter Cartwright came from Kentucky to Sanga- 
mon county in 1823 and bought a farm seven miles west 
of Springfield, he found the people greatly agitated (as I 
have said in a former letter) over the question whether 
Illinois should be a slave or free state. An election to 
settle the question was called for the first Monday in 
August, 1824. He had left Kentucky to get away from 
slavery, and it was natural, with his gQ TT ibP tlvp fHgjvvgit.irm., 
that he should go into the battle for freedom with all his 
soul and might. He thoroughly canvassed the counties 
of Sangamon and Morgan, making speeches against slavery 
in all the churches and schoolhouses, or wherever he could 
get an audience. 

At that time there were but thirty counties in the state, 
and Sangamon and Morgan were the two northern counties 
on the east side of the Illinois river. Pike and Fulton 
were the only counties on the west side of the river. Ful- 
ton was the extreme northern county, taking in Fort Clark 
(now Peoria) and Galena and Chicago. 

There was at that time in Fulton county a man who 
perhaps did as much to defeat slavery as did Mr. Cart- 
wright or any other man in Illinois. His name was Os- 
sian M. Ross. He thoroughly canvassed the counties of 
Fulton and Pike. He was a Quaker, and the Quakers 
were bitterly opposed to human slavery. He went into 
the conflict with all his might, and never ceased until the 
votes were counted and the battle of freedom won. I be- 
lieve there was more credit due him and Peter Cartwright 



for carrying the state against slavery than any other two 
men in Illinois. Following is the vote on that question. 
The vote of Morgan, Sangamon, Pike and Fulton will 
show how well they succeeded. 


* For. Against. 

Alexander 75 51 

Bond 63 240 

Clark 32 116 

Crawford 134 262 

Edgar 3 234 

Edwards 186 371 

Fayette, .J25^ 121 

TTranklin TfO 113 

Fulton 5 60 

Gallatin 596 133 

Greene 134 405 

Hamilton 173 86 

Jackson ^1SO> 93 

"Jefferson ^ 90 43 

Johnson 74 74 

Lawrence 158 261 

Madison 351 58 

Marion 45 53 

Montgomery 74 99 

Monroe 171 196 

Morgan "^43 555 

Pike 23 261 

Pope 275 124 

Eandolgh J57^ 184 

"Sangambn "To3 722 

St. Clair 427 543 

Union 213 240 

Washington 112 173 

Wayne 189 111 

White . 355 326 

Total . 4950 6822 

Majority against slavery 1872 


After Mr. Cartwright had finished his fight against 
slavery he returned to Kentucky to finish his preparations 
for removal to Illinois. In the fall of 1824 he started 
with two wagons drawn by horses for his new home in the 
wilderness of Illinois. They met with some sad misfor- 
tunes on the road. At one time one of the wagonsfcwas 
overturned, seriously injuring one of his daughters. While 
encamped one night in the great forest a tree fell upon 
/another daughter, crushing her to death. They had to 
I carry the mangled body twenty miles before they could 
1 procure a coffin and give the child decent burial. 

When they arrived at their new home Mr. Cartwjight 
found that the election had gone to his satisfaction. ffiot- 
withstanding slavery had been voted down by the decisive 
majority of 1,872 votes, the slavery party was not anni- 
hilated. They pretended to believe that their vote had not 
all turned out, and hoped that they might win in another 
election. They had a large majority in both branches of 
the legislature, and were determined to secure another 
election. It was true that Edward Coles, an anti-slavery 
man, had been elected governor; but there had been four 
candidates, and the slavery vote had been divided, causing 
Coles to be elected by a small majority^ 

In the early settlement of Illinois the southern part of 
the state was settled first, and mainly by people from the 
slave states. These people brought with them their slave 
laws, slave prejudices, and many of them also brought their 
slaves. They found that many of the staple products of 
the South, such as hemp, tobacco and cotton, could be raised 
in southern Illinois, and they believed that these products 
could not be profitably raised without slave labor. There 
was another condition that influenced the people to favor 
slavery: About that time a tremendous emigration was 
pouring through southern Illinois into Missouri from Vir- 
ginia and Kentucky. In the fall of the year every great 
road was crowded with these movers in long trains of 
teams, and with their negroes, and with plenty of money. 
They were the wealthiest and best educated emigrants 
from the slave states. The early settlers of Illinois saw 


it all and with great envy for Missouri's good fortune. 
The lordly emigrant as he passed along with his droves 
of negroes and piles of money took malicious delight in 
adding to the unrest by pretending to regret the short- 
sighted policy of Illinois which excluded him by declaring 
against the institution of slavery. This gave the people 
of southern Illinois a strong desire to hold another elec- 
tion, hoping that slavery might be voted in. 

And so the agitation was kept up from year to year. 
The same infamous old " black laws " were still on the 
statute book, and many negroes were held in slavery, espe- 
cially in the southern counties along the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi rivers. They were hemmed in by slave states, Ken- 
tucky on the southeast and Missouri on the west. So. 
the sentiment was strong for slavery. There were but 
few men in the legislature who dared oppose these bad 
laws or slavery. It would have been a very unpopular if 
not dangerous step. Then there was great fear of being 
called an " abolitionist," the most odious epithet that in 
those times could be applied to a man. 

But in 1828 there was to be an election for representa- / 
tives, and the friends of free territory prevailed upon Mr. * 
Cartwright to become a candidate, and he was elected a 
without much opposition from the northern counties. He 
believed that he could for a few months serve his God and 
his country as acceptably in the general assembly as in 
preaching the gospel. 

By this time the northern counties were settling up with 
people from the East, and the tide turned forever against 
the friends of slavery. Mr. Cartwright with the help of 
other members of the legislature was able to have some of 
the infamous " black laws " repealed and excellent laws 
enacted in their stead. It was a grand and noble work.* 
I may have more to say on this subject in a later sketch. 






When Peter Cartwright came to Illinois in 1824, and 
settled seven miles east of Springfield, at what was after- 
wards known as Pleasant Plains, he found the country very 
sparsely settled. Sangamon county at that time extended 
north as far as the northern part of the state, the settle- 
ments were few and far between and there was not a church 
within the boundaries of the county. Springfield was a 
small village, and the only place they had for public wor- 
ship was a small frame school house, but in about a year 
after Mr. Cartwright came to that place the Methodist and 
Presbyterian congregations joined in building a small brick 
church, which was the first brick building erected in Spring- 
field. The two congregations used this building alternate- 
ly for two years, when the Methodists sold out their interest 
in the property and built for themselves a frame church 
much larger in size. 

Mr. Cartwright possessed too much of a missionary spir- 
it, however, to settle down in one place. He looked upon 
the whole state of Illinois as his field of labor, and would 
travel from place to place, organizing a church and Sunday 
school wherever he could find a few families gathered to- 
gether, and preaching in the homes of the people and in log 
school houses. But his great forte in carrying on his mis- 
sionary and evangelical work was his campmeetings. He 
would hold ten-day campmeetings in every part of the 
country, and people would flock from miles around to at- 
tend them. 

Mr. Cartwright was not only a great preacher, but it 
might be said of him, as of Lincoln, that he was a born 
leader. He was a great organizer, and had held the office 
of presiding elder ever since he was twenty-two years old. 


He had a most excellent control over his members, and 
would allow no drones in his camp. In those primitive 
times it was not considered necessary that a teacher of re- 
ligion should be a scholar. It was thought to be his busi- 
ness to preach from a knowledge of the Scriptures and the 
guiding and controlling influence of the Holy Spirit. 
Their wonderful success at those meetings might be attrib- 
uted to the earnestness and zeal with which they picturedl <{ ^^ 
the blessings of Heaven and the awful torments of the wick- 1 
ed in fire and brimstone. They believed with certainty 
that they saw the souls of wicked men rushing headlong to 
perdition, and they stepped forward to warn and to save 
with all the self-devotion of a generous man who risks his 
own life to save that of a drowning neighbor. And to these 
earnest, Christian people are we indebted for the spread of 
the protestant religion through Illinois at that early day. 
At many of those campmeetings there would be from 200 
to 300 conversions. 

In 1832 the democratic party again brought out Peter 
Cartwright for the legislature. He was a farmer as well 
as a preacher, and was very popular with the farmers. 
He had also given good satisfaction in the legislature, to 
which he was elected in 1,89^ having been instrumental in 
repealing several of the obnoxious laws which had disgraced I 
the state, and the people wanted to send him back. This || 
time he defeated Abraham Lincoln. When he was in the 
legislature he had two prohibition laws enacted. One 
was that no saloon or drinking house should be permitted 
within one mile of Jacksonville, and was known as the 
" Jacksonville Ordinance." The Jacksonville college had 
been established, and was then the only college in the state. 
The other prohibitive law was that no saloon or drinking 
house should be erected or permitted to run within one 
mile of a campmeeting. Mr. Cartwright had an oppor- 
tunity to assist in enacting this latter law in Fulton county 
in 1833. He had erected a campmeeting on the west side 
^of Canton, near where the old Methodist church stood. 
There was then a handsome grove of timber standing there. 
They had got their shed and preacher's stand put up and 


everything in order for the meeting when a man from Can- 
ton set up a huckster's stand with cigars, tobacco, and all 
kinds of ardent spirits within a few rods of the camp- 
grounds. Mr. Cartwright went to him and told him he 
would have to move his drinking establishment, as it was 
against the law to sell liquor within a mile of a campmeet- 
ing. The man told him he had plenty of friends to back 
him and he would continue to sell, so Cartwright swore out 
a warrant for his arrest and had him taken before Esquire 
Stillman for trial. A young lawyer in Canton defended 
the prisoner, while Cartwright prosecuted the case. The 
court imposed a fine of $10, which the huckster said he 
would not pay, so the necessary papers were made out com- 
mitting him to the county jail. But the man defied the 
constable, telling him that he could not find men enough in 
Canton to take him. The constable was completely cowed, 
as he was afraid of the man's friends who had promised to 
protect him, but Mr. Cartwright told the constable to sum- 
mons him and two of his church members and they would 
take him. One of the churchmen went into the woods and 
cut a stout hickory cane for each of the three, and they 
hoisted the man on a horse and started for Lewistown. He 
believed that his friends would rescue him from the officers 
and kept looking back every few miles to see if they were 
coming, but they never made their appearance, and when 
they got in sight of Lewistown the man gave up all hope 
and paid his fine. They all turned back for Canton, but 
that put a stop to setting up saloons near campmeetings in 
Fulton county. At the close of this campmeeting Mr. Cart- 
wright reported that ninety persons had been soundly con- 







The career of Peter Cartwright has been one of the 
most remarkable and eventful known in the history of the 
great northwest. There was scarcely a town or village or 
city in Illinois where the name of Peter Cartwright was 
not familiar. He had been for sixty-five years an ef- 
fective itinerant Methodist preacher, not having lost six 
months' labor in that long period of time. During that 
period he served as presiding elder fifty years. He had 
wonderful powers of oratory, and often at his campmeetr J 
ings there would be 200 to 300 conversions under his 

He first visited that section of country between the 
Illinois and Mississippi rivers in 1827. He crossed the 
Illinois river at Beardstown, and traveled across the coun- 
try to Atlas on the Mississippi river, that town then being 
the county seat of Pike county. He there found some 
ten or twelve families, and among them were three 
brothers, William, John and Leonard Ross. They had 
laid out the town of Atlas. They came from the state of 
New York. They had bought up considerable land in 
that vicinity. Mr. Cartwright stopped with William 
Ross over night and attended a campmeeting that was 
held ten miles from Atlas, which was the first campmeet- 
ing held in Pike county. The same fall he held a camp- 
meeting in Schuyler county, near Rushville. He came 
into Fulton county, stayed at my father's house in Lewis- 
town over night, and preached that evening in the log 
courthouse at Lewistown. He went from there to Canton, 


where he attended a campmeeting that was held in a beau- 
tiful grove of timber on the west side of Canton. That 
was the second campmeeting that was held in the county. 
After the campmeeting was over he took a trip up into the 
Rock river country that was then settled with Indians. 
His great and sympathetic heart went out for the good 
and welfare of the poor Indians, as well as for the white 
people. He believed that civilizing and Christianizing 
them was far better than fighting them. He was instru- 
. .mental in having his church establish a mission among 
/KJ V/the Pottawattomie Indians, which was located on Hock 
I river; and it might truthfully be said that he was the first 
missionary that labored among those wild Indians. He 
|was appointed superintendent of the mission and con- 
ducted it with much ability until the Indians were driven 
out of the country during the Black Hawk war. 

Mr. Cartwright was always in politics a democrat of 
the Andrew Jackson stamp. He was twice elected a mem- 
ber of the Illinois legislature, his opponent at one time 
being Abraham Lincoln, who ran on the Whig ticket. 
That party being in the majority in his district at the 
time, Mr. Lincoln was elected by a small majority. 

Mr. Cartwright was a descendant of a loyal and patriotic 
ancestry, his father having served for two and one-half 
years in the War of the Revolution for American Inde- 
pendence; and when the War of the Rebellion in the 
south took place, and Mr. Lincoln called for volunteers, 
Mr. Cartwright rushed to Springfield and hoisted the 
American flag on the top of the Methodist church in that 
city, and used all of his influence to put down the Rebel- 

Mr. Cartwright, who had labored so heroically when he 
first came to Illinois to prevent the planting of the insti- 
tution of slavery on the soil of that state, found, after he 
had lived in the state about twenty years, that an effort 
was being made to plant another institution over the state 
which he regarded as being almost as pernicious and vile 
as that of slavery, and that was Mormonism, which in- 
cluded polygamy, and his righteous indignation was 


aroused to the highest pitch. For the Mormons, who had 
been driven out of Missouri for their bad conduct, had 
crossed the Mississippi and had spread themselves over 
several of the counties in Illinois, and their preachers and 
elders traveled through every town and neighborhood and 
were very zealous in propagating their doctrines and win- 
ning over converts to their religion ; and they also took an 
active part in the politics of the times, and at all elections 
they cast their votes as a unit ; and in some of the counties 
they had elected some of their elders to seats in the legis- 
lature and to fill county offices. So Peter Cartwright got 
after the Mormons with all the power and might that he 
possessed, and did much to check their pernicious and mis- 
chievous conduct in many localities. 

After Mr. Cartwright had been elected the fiftieth time 
as a presiding elder, his church, which convened in con- 
ference at Quincy in 1868, passed a resolution that at 
their next conference, that was to be held at Lincoln in 
1869, that a grand ovation, or a kind of jubilee, should 
be given him in honor of his fifty years' service as presid- 
ing elder. At that conference a very large number of 
ministers were present the largest that had ever before 
assembled in Illinois. Also a number of ministers came 
from other states to pay their homage and respect to the 
grand old veteran. Rev. I. P. Newman came all the way 
from Washington City to see him. Many eloquent 
speeches were made, many letters of congratulations were 
read, and many handsome and costly presents were given 
him. Among the letters read were notable ones from Ex- 
Governors Richard Yates and R. J. Oglesby. In Gov- 
ernor Yates' letter, among the many good things he had to 
say about the old elder, was the following : 

" During the war, when the governor of the state need- 
ed the support of all good men in the union cause, he felt 
cheered and strengthened by the earnest approval and 
strong influence of Peter Cartwright." 


In Gov. Oglesby's letter he said : 

" For as long as I can remember, the name of Peter Cart- 
wright has been a household word in our western country. 
Bold, honest, earnest and untiring, he has stood on the 
frontier of advancing civilization to proclaim the truth of 
God and history. It is the completion of his semi-centen- 
nial eldership of your church. A jubilee such as this can 
come to few men. Few are favored with such length of 
life in which to do good for mankind." 

At the jubilee conference Gov. Oglesby sent to the com- 
mittee a beautiful and magnificent chair with his compli- 
ments, as follows: 

" I will thank you to present the chair sent to your care 
to Elder Cartwright, and request that he will accept it as a 
testimonial of friendship and respect, upon which, in the 
weary days of an honorable old age, he may occasionally be 
\seated to rest from his labors. 

" E. J". OGLESBY." 

At the time of the jubilee conference Elder Cartwright 
was eighty-four years of age, though he lived to his eighty- 

I seventh year, and his wife lived to the age of eighty-six. 
They lived together as husband and wife for sixty-four 
years. They had nine children (two sons and seven daugh- 
ters), fifty grandchildren, thirty-seven great-grandchildren 
and one great-great-grandson. Three of their daughters 
married traveling Methodist Episcopal ministers, two of 
whom had been presiding elders ; and all of their children, 
and many of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, 
were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. 

After the jubilee conference was over, in 1869, Mr. Cart- 
wright concluded that he would retire from further labors 
and spend the balance of his days with his wife on their 
beautiful farm at Pleasant Plains where they had lived for 
forty years. The old elder stood it bravely for six months, 
and then he became restless and uneasy, and his old pro- 
pensity and desire for preaching and the distribution of 


religious books and tracts came back upon him so 
that he could stand leisure and idleness no longer. So he 
packed a carpet-sack with religious literature and started 
off on a missionary tour. He traveled through several of 
the states and territories, and on his return he said the fol- 
lowing : 

" I will furnish a brief statement of my labors during 
this year. I have dedicated eight churches, preached at 
seventy-seven funerals, addressed eight schools, baptized 
twenty adults and fifty children, married five couples, re- 
ceived fifteen into the church on probation and twenty-five 
into full connection; have raised $25 missionary money; 
have donated $20 for new churches, written 112 letters, 
received in donations $50, and for my lectures and sermons 
$700 ; for traveling expenses $650, and sold $200 worth of 

ISTow that was certainly a good account of stewardship 
for a year's labor by a man that was eighty-six years of age. 

Mr. Cartwright, on his return from his last year's mis- 
sionary tour, had many circumstances and incidents of very 
great interest to relate, and I will relate one of them : He 
had taken his seat in the cars one day when a lady came and 
introduced herself to him, stating that he had baptized her 
when she was a child, and that then she had a large family, 
who were with her in the cars ; that they were moving to a 
distant part of the country, away from church privileges, 
and she wanted him to baptize her family. When the con- 
ductor came into the car he told him that this lady desired 
him to baptize her children, and asked him if he would 
allow him the privilege. The conductor told him that 
there were a great many passengers on the cars who were 
in a hurry to get through, and he could not stop the train. 
He told the conductor that if he would grant him the priv- 
ilege he could baptize them if his train was . running at 
ightning speed. The conductor told him to go ahead ; and 
when water was brought he baptized the family and sent 
them on their way rejoicing ; and he would gladly have bap- 


tized the whole car-load if they had been fit subjects for 

There are few ministers, if any, that have lived in the 
last century that can show such a record of long and faith- 
ful service in the Christian faith ; and for many long years 
will his noble deeds and sacrifices be remembered and his 
sacred memory be cherished deep down in the hearts of a 
grateful country and a generous people. It would be right 
and proper that a monument should be erected to his sacred 
memory, the same as has been done over the grave of the 
noble Lincoln. 








In closing my pioneer history of Fulton county, I 
thought that it would be proper and right for me to give a 
short biographical sketch of my own life and also of some 
of my ancestors, as some of my children and grandchildren 
and great-grandchildren might have the curiosity to know 
something about their genealogy, and where their ancestors 
came from, and I will therefore give such genealogy as far 
as I have been able to trace it back to the Ross and the Lee 

My great-grandfather, Zebulon Ross, came from Scot- 
land to America, and settled in Dutchess county, New York, 
in the year 1728, and died in the same county at the age of 
ninety years. He had a son, Joseph Ross, who was mar- 
ried to Abigail Lee, a daughter of Thomas Lee. Thomas 
Lee was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and it was 
after him that the Lee part of my name was given me, 
which is Harvey Lee Ross. 

My grandmother, Abigail Lee Ross, came to Illinois 
in 1824, and died at my father's house in Havana, Illinois, 
in 1834. T have often heard her tell of her father, Thomas 
Lee, being a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Thomas 
Lee's ancestors came from England to America about the 



middle of the seventeenth century. There were two 
branches of the Lee family, one of which branches settled 
in the state of New York and the other in the state of Vir- 
ginia. Both branches came from the same original stock. 
Their ancestors had held positions of honor and trust in 
the old country, and some of those who settled in New 
York and Virginia occupied prominent places in the col- 
onial history of America, in the state legislatures, and in 
the councils of the nation. Joshua Lee, brother of Thomas 
Lee, was for many years a member of the New York State 
Senate. One of the Virginia branch, Richard Henry Lee, 
drew up and submitted to Congress the resolution of June 
7th, 1776, declaring that the United Colonies of America 
are and ought to be free and independent states ; that they 
absolved themselves from all allegiance to the British 
Crown, and that all political connection between them and 
Great Britain is and ought to be totally absolved, which 
resolution was adopted by the Continental Congress. Both 
Richard Henry Lee and his brother, Francis Lightfoot Lee, 
were members of the Continental Congress and signers of 
the Declaration of Independence. 

Thomas Lee, the father of Abigail Lee, was born in 
Fishkill, New York, November 15th, 1739, and died at 
Penn Yan, New York, January 22nd, 1814. His wife, 
Mattie Sherman, was born in 1743, and died October 14th, 

Thomas Lee and Mattie Sherman were married in 1760, 
and had ten children. Their oldest daughter, Abigail Lee, 
was born in 1760, and married Joseph Ross. 

Joseph Ross and Abigail Lee had born to them the fol- 
lowing children : Joseph, Ossian M., Matthias, Thomas L., 
John N., Eliza, Maria and Sallie. 

Ossian M. Ross Avas born in Dutchess county, New York, 
August 16th, 1790, and died at Havana, Illinois, in 1837. 
His wife, Mary "\Vinans, was born in New Jersey, April 
1st, 1793, and'died at Peoria, Illinois, in 1875. Ossian 
M. Ross and Mary Winans were married in Seneca county, 
Now York, July 7th, 1811. There was born to them the 


following children : Lewis W., Harriet M., Harvey Lee, 
Leonard F., Lucinda C. and Pike C. Ross. 

The services of Thomas Lee in assisting in the establish- 
ment of American independence during the war of the 
Revolution were as follows : He was second lieutenant of 
Captain Jack Rosekrance's company, Col. Jack Holmes, 
fourth regiment. New York Continental line, 28th of 
June, 1775 ; promoted first lieutenant, August 3rd, 1775. 
He was captain of the eighth company, fifth regiment, New 
York Continental line, commanded by Col. Louis Du Bois, 
November 21st, 1776'; resigned May 19th, 1778. He was 
also captain in Col. Zepharriah Platt's regiment of New 
York Associated Exempts, October 19th, 1779. He was 
also captain in Col. Louis Du Bois' regiment of New 
York militia, July 1st, 1780. (References, pages 140, 
231, 257, 285 and 529 of Vol. 1, "New York in 
the Revolution," or Vol. 15 of the published " Docu- 
ments Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New 
York," published by Reed, Parsons & Co., Albany, New 
York, 1887. Also "page 261 of " Heitman's Register of 
Officers of the Continental Army," published by H. B. 
Heitman, at Washington, D. C.) Captain Thomas Lee's 
services in the Continental army were equivalent to ser- 
vice in the regular army of to-day. 

In regard to my own life, I will say that I was born in 
Seneca county, New York, October 10th, 1817, and came 
with my parents to what is now known as Fulton county, 
Illinois, in 1821. We came down the Ohio river and up the 
Mississippi and Illinois rivers in a keel boat. The country 
at that time was a vast wilderness, inhabited only by 
Indians and abounding with wild animals. It was several 
years after we came to Illinois before the country became 
sufficiently settled to establish schools, and I had little 
opportunity in the years of my youth to obtain an education. 
What education I did get was obtained at the little log 
schoolhouses, though in 1836, when I was nineteen years of 
age, my father sent me to Illinois College, at Jacksonville, 
Illinois. I had attended college scarcely a year when my 
father died. He had been engaged in extensive business 


enterprises, and in consequence of his death I was obliged to 
leave school and come home and take charge of my mother's 
business, which put an end to my college life. When I 
entered Illinois College I took in with me as college chum, 
William II. Heriidon, who for many years was the law 
partner of Abraham Lincoln, and who was the author of the 
book entitled " Life of Abraham Lincoln, by W. H. Hern- 
don." I have had something to say of this book in my 
sketch of the early life of Lincoln. 

My father was engaged for many years in farming, and 
in the mercantile business, and in trading with the Indians, 
and the early part of my life was spent on the farm, in the 
store, and in trading with the Indians. I would often 
take long trips into the country, far away from any white 
neighbors, in company with Indian traders, whom my 
father kept employed, and I then learned to speak the 
Indian language quite well. I at a very early age learned 
the use of firearms, and was very often out hunting and 
trapping, as the country in those times abounded in wild 
game. Great droves of deer and large flocks of wild tur- 
keys could be found everywhere. I have shot wild turkeys 
when but seven years of age, and have killed deer when 
twelve years old. I can remember catching eight wolves in 
steel traps set around the carcass of one dead horse, when I 
was but twelve years of age. In 1832, when I was fifteen 
years of age, I carried the mail on horseback, once a week, 
from Springfield to Monmouth, Illinois, the distance being 
about 135 miles. I frequently had to swim my horse over 
streams of water three or four times a day, there being no 
bridges, with the mailbag strapped across my shoulders to 
keep the mail from getting wet. I will mention one of my 
adventures. I was traveling from Monmouth to Knox- 
ville, the distance being twenty miles, and not a house was 
there between the two villages. A dark and rainy night 
came on, when I was ten miles from Knoxville, and when I 
had reached the place where the city of Galesburg now 
stands the grass was very high in the road, and all of a sud- 
den I heard a hungry pack of wolves set up a tremendous 
howling right behind my horse, and from the noise 


they made I supposed that the whole country was alive 
with wolves, so I applied the whip to my horse, and was not 
long in getting to Knoxville, and I probably made as good 
time on horseback as the railroad trains are making at the 
present time. In the year 1833, when I was sixteen years 
of age, I took a trip from Havana, in Mason county, Illi- 
nois, to what was called the " Lead Mine Country " in the 
northwestern part of Illinois, a distance of about 225 miles. 
The greater part of the road ran through an unbroken 
wilderness. In many places the white settlers were from 
fifteen to twenty-five miles apart. There were many deep 
and dangerous streams of water to cross, and it was cer- 
tainly a long and dangerous trip for a boy to take alone 
and on horseback. I found many Indians on the road, and 
sometimes stayed with them over night, and always found 
them kind and friendly. The cause of my taking the 
trip at that time was this: My uncle, Joseph Ross, had 
some three years before gone to the lead mines, taking with 
him his only child, my cousin Ossian, a boy about five years 
of age. My uncle was taken sick and died, leaving this boy 
with strangers, and no one to look after him, and so I went 
there and brought him home with me. He at the time of 
this trip was only eight years of age. I was some twenty 
days in making the trip, and we got home all in good shape. 
One of the first business enterprises I engaged in after I 
became of age was to purchase an interest in a steamboat, 
called the Navigator, which ran from St. Louis, Missouri, 
to La Salle on the Illinois river. I held the position on 
her of steamboat clerk. After running on her for a year, I 
sold out my interest, and then took a wife. I was married 
on the 1st day of January, 1840, to Jane R. Kirkpatrick 
at Canton, Illinois. Upon our marriage we went to 
Havana, Illinois, ~ and there kept the Havana Hotel, and 
also the ferry across the Illinois river, and we engaged in 
farming and stockraising. I was later appointed post- 
master at Havana, Illinois, by President Martin Van 
Buren. In 1844 I removed to and settled on a farm of 
forty acres adjoining the town of Vermont in Fulton 
countv, Illinois, and as I had never learned a trade, nor 

/ 7 t 


studied for any profession, I had to rely on my hands and 
head for a living in the world. I settled down on my lit- 
tle farm and went to work, and planted out a fine orchard, 
which in after years yielded me from eight to ten thousand 
bushels of fruit a year. I added to my little farm from 
time to time, until I had a farm of 400 acres, all well im- 
proved. I also engaged in buying lands and improving 
them, and selling them to such emigrants as came to the 
country and wished to purchase improved farms. I con- 
tinued in that business until I had became the purchaser 
and had disposed of six farms in Fulton county and four- 
teen farms in McDonough county, Illinois, and those farms 
are at the present time among the very best in those 
two counties. I have good reason to believe that I have 
had a greater number of acres of land broken up and put 
in cultivation than any other man that has ever lived in 
McDonough county. I only mention these facts to show 
that I have not been an idler or drone in the great hive of 
human progress, but have taken some part in helping to de- 
velop the great resources of the country. 

My principal occupation through life has been that of a 
farmer, although I engaged in the mercantile business in 
connection with my farming operations for about ten years. 
I have never been an office seeker, and have had but little 
desire to hold office, although I have held a few small offices. 
I have held the office of town councilman, town treasurer, 
supervisor, justice of the peace and postmaster. I was 
twice elected treasurer and director of a railroad. I have 
usually voted the Democratic ticket, but when I came to 
California, in 1881, I attended the Democratic State Con- 
vention, and found that a large majority of the delegates 
to the convention were saloonkeepers and wholesale liquor 
dealers, and that the prominent questions which came 
before the convention were the repeal of the Sunday law, 
which was then the law of the state of California, and the 
enactment of laws in the interests of liquor dealers, so I 
left the Democratic party and joined the Prohibition party. 
And at the State Prohibition Convention, in 1884, I was 
selected as a delegate to the National Prohibition Conven- 


tion that was held in the city of Pittsburgh in 1884, at 
which convention the Hon. John P. St. John was nom- 
inated for president. At that convention twenty-eight 
states and three territories were represented by 465 dele- 
gates. It was at this convention that I first had the oppor- 
tunity and the pleasure of seeing and hearing that grand 
and noble lady, Miss Frances E. Willard. She placed in 
nomination for president John P. St. John, and on that 
occasion she made one of the most eloquent and powerful 
speeches that was heard during the convention. I felt a 
little honored in being chosen with her on the committee 
that drafted the platform and resolutions which were 
unanimously adopted by the convention. I have been a 
member of some temperance organization for over half a 
century. I have never indulged in the use of liquor nor 
tobacco in any form, and during the more than eighty years 
of my life I do not think that I ever had to exceed more 
than five days of sickness, and I attribute my good health 
and length of years very materially to abstaining from the 
use of liquor and tobacco. My wife and I lived together 
lacking but three days of fifty-eight years. There were 
born to us six children, four sons and two daughters. Our 
first child, Ossian, died when eighteen months old. All my 
other children are married and have families. They are 
Harriet S. Hall, Frank W. Boss, Mary F. Childs, George 
C. Ross and Joseph L, Ross. I have twelve grandchildren 
and four great-grandchildren. I have been a member of 
the Presbyterian church for sixtyyears. Iwas convertedun- 
der the preaching of the Rev. Dr. David Nelson, at a Pres- 
byterian campmeeting held near the town of Canton, Illi- 
nois, in 1838. I first joined the Presbyterian church, at 
Canton, Illinois, in 1838. I have been a member of the 
Presbyterian church at Vermont, Illinois, and also of the 
Presbyterian church at Macomb, Illinois. I held the 
office of presiding elder in each of those churches, and have 
represented each of them in presbytery. I am at the pres- 
ent time a member of the First Presbyterian church of 
Oakland, California, which has a membership of over 
thirteen hundred. 





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